Visit Rapid City and Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Adopt Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program

All Are Welcome in the Black Hills


Visit Rapid City and the Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association are both adopting the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program, creating inclusivity, acceptance and awareness throughout the Black Hills. 

The Sunflower Program was established in 2016 with the hopes of helping aid those with hidden disabilities by wearing a sunflower. Today, more than 1 billion people live with a disability, some that are visible and others that are hidden. If you spot someone with a sunflower on their clothes, hat or bag, or if they are wearing a sunflower lanyard around their neck, it is a sign that they may need extra help, understanding or simply a little more time. Disabilities that may be invisible include low vision, PTSD, dementia, mental disorders, chronic health disorders and more. 

“Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association is thrilled to introduce the integration of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower into our regional offerings,” said Michelle Thomson, President of the Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association. “Many disabilities, conditions and illnesses aren't readily apparent to others. By embracing this discreet – yet powerful – symbol, we empower our industry to recognize when a visitor may require additional support and empathy, enabling us to deliver an exceptional experience tailored to their needs.” 

Research shows that over 90% of sunflower wearers would be more likely to visit a store that had joined the Sunflower network. Those that wear the sunflower do not need to disclose what their disability is or explain why they are wearing a sunflower. Instead – by wearing the sunflower – they are letting people know that they may need some extra help. Visitors can currently get free Sunflower lanyards at both the Black Hills Visitor Information Center and Visit Rapid City’s main office. Businesses can also pick up window clings showing they support and recognize the Sunflower Program. 

 “The Sunflower Program is a great way for both travelers and businesses to clearly communicate, making accessible travel easy throughout Rapid City and the Black Hills,” said Brook Kaufman, President and CEO of Visit Rapid City. “Being the first city in South Dakota to implement this program is exciting and we look forward to helping grow this initiative throughout the entire state.” 
Learn more about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program here and about Rapid City at and

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About Visit Rapid City:
Visit Rapid City is the official marketing organization for Rapid City and promotes leisure travel, meetings, conventions and sporting events to Rapid City and the Black Hills area. More information can be found at You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest or discover images and content with #VisitRapidCity. 

About Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association: 
Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to acting as a unifying force to increase visitor numbers, trip duration and visitor sales for the economic benefit of its members and the communities they serve. For more information, call 605-355-3600 or visit

Visit Rapid City Media Contact:
Tia Troy, 406-529-8314

Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association Media Contact: 
Michelle Thomson, 605-355-3600