National Down Syndrome Society Launches a National Outdoor Initiative at the 2017 Summer Outdoor Retailer

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 6, 2017) – The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, pioneers new territory during Outdoor Retailer’s Summer Market in Salt Lake City on July 26, 2017. Outdoor Retailer is the largest outdoor sports show of its kind with the most comprehensive group of outdoor buyers, wholesalers and media in North America. NDSS will educate and speak to athletes, brands and retailers on topics related to its mission and the NDSS #DSWORKS® Campaign.

NDSS’ #DSWORKS® Campaign focuses on showing companies, from Main Street to Wall Street, that individuals with Down syndrome are ready willing and able to work. NDSS’ #DSWORKS® Campaign is encouraging corporations and businesses to invest in hiring people with Down syndrome with the goal of increasing the employment rate for adults with Down syndrome. Currently, there a number of outdoor brands already employing people with Down syndrome. The goal is to offer these and others an opportunity to share their stories and help create a competitive employment setting for individuals with Down syndrome.

Sara Hart Weir, President, NDSS and Michelle Ray, Director of Inclusive Sports and Health, NDSS will lead a panel discussion with athletes, outdoor industry experts and active family members in the Down syndrome community. The focus of the panel is to highlight the abilities of individuals with Down syndrome and expand career opportunities across the outdoor workplace while showcasing some of the top athletes with Down syndrome who are pushing boundaries.

“At NDSS, we know companies that invest in hiring individuals with Down syndrome out perform their competition. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to showcase our NDSS efforts and initiatives to a passionate and healthy tribe of outdoor advocates,” Weir said. “Health is wealth, and at NDSS, we are focused on ensuring individuals with Down syndrome lead long, healthy lives by having access to inclusive education and meaningful careers.”

Currently, the NDSS #DSWORKS® Campaign is working with professional sports associations as well as many large companies in North America. The outdoor community is a natural next step as the program grows.

The panel will also highlight the NDSS Athlete Ambassador Program, launched in January 2017. NDSS’ new program has recruited recreational athletes across the nation to be its Athlete Ambassadors. These ambassadors have organized teams to raise funds for NDSS and its mission in various athletic events. Ray will be leading this portion, as she oversees NDSS’ Inclusive Health and Sport Program which encompasses NDSS’ National Buddy Walk® Program, Team NDSS and the NDSS Athlete Ambassador Program.

“I am excited to share my passion and advocacy with the Outdoor Retailer community,” Ray said. “The current momentum toward an active and healthy lifestyle in the Down syndrome community is monumental - a fact that should resonate perfectly with for the Outdoor Retailer audience.”

Please Join the National Down Syndrome Society on July 25 at The Camp at 10 a.m. for this inspirational presentation. Speakers include: Sara Hart Weir, MS, President, NDSS; Michelle Ray, Director, Inclusive Health and Sport Program, NDSS; Eric Henderson, Athlete Ambassador, NDSS; Max Hammer Athlete Ambassador, NDSS; Andrew Harris, self-advocate climber; Mycah Miller, self-advocate skier and Sally Yocum, parent and advocate for Vertical Harvest.



The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, is a nonprofit organization with more than 350 affiliates nationwide representing over 400,000 Americans who have Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information, visit

Media contact:

Eric Henderson