Vermont Adaptive Ski And Sports
Rating: 5 stars 6 6 reviews 81
PO Box 139 Pico Mt Killington VT 05751 USA
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is committed to providing year-round recreational opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Our goal is to teach independence and self-reliance so individuals can learn the skills needed to participate in and enjoy sports and recreational activities with family and friends.
VASS provides service to both the southern and northern regions of Vermont. Our northern program is at Sugarbush Resort in Warren, and the southern program recently relocated to Pico Mountain at Killington. The Killington owners are extremely supportive of VASS. They provide us with superior accessibility for our clients in the areas of parking, lodging, and mountain access. They also help to promote our programs and assist with on-slope fundraisers.The alpine skiing program begins in mid-November and runs through April, depending on snow conditions. During the summer months, VASS' programming includes sailing, canoeing, rock climbing, adaptive mt. biking and horseback riding. Although skiing continues to be our most popular sport, VASS has seen a heightened interest in both recreational and competitive sailing.
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My Journey of Discovery
In February of 2008 I had a skiing accident and I fractured my knee, tore my ACL and cut my meniscus. I was housebound for a month. Four months after my injury I had surgery followed by complications and was on and off crutches for a total of six months. Prior to my injury I had never realized how many barriers there were for people with mobility challenges. For six months I was less active then I have ever been. I had time to contemplate what my life was about. My grandfather was in a mining accident and wore a prosthetic leg. In late 2007 my mother was diagnosed with ALS. My injury and my mother’s illness was a life changing experience.
I decided to focus on what I am most passionate about, skiing. I was on skis before I was five years old. I have been skiing on Pico Mountain since I was six. I had seen Vermont Adaptive at Pico over the years. It took me a little while to piece together what I needed to do to rebuild myself.
I realized what I wanted and what I needed in my life; to be a part of Vermont Adaptive.
There are many reasons I volunteer. In general volunteers seem to be very thoughtful and giving individuals. I can't think of a better group of people to be around. The volunteers I have worked with at Rebuild Together and Vermont Adaptive inspire me. At Vermont Adaptive I have met people with both physical and mental disabilities. I am constantly amazed that most of the clients aren't the least bit phased by their challenges. The majority of the clients have great attitudes and are grateful to the volunteers that ski, canoe, ride a bike or just hang out with them. It is a fantastic feeling of accomplishment, plus I have made some great friends. I guess it comes back to 'you always get back more than you give.' It's Ironic, but true for me. I am a year round volunteer,I serve on the Board of Directors and donate anniually. This journey has lead me to Project Search as a job coach for young adults with either intellectual or developmental disabilities.
My advice is to identify what you love to do and find an organization that can use your talents and volunteer!
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports http://www.vermontadaptive.org/
I'm a selfish guy. At my core, in my heart. I'm selfish. Please don't misunderstand. I don't think that I'm greedy, hedonistic or narcissistic. Just selfish. Self-interested. My primary motivation is myself.
I do things that make me feel good. Things that don't feel good, don't have some kind of intrinsic reward, I simply can't keep doing for very long. Why would I?
But things that make me feel good, that reward me for my efforts, that I feel better in the completion of than in the avoidance of, those things I can really stick with. Get behind. Make a lifestyle of.
It stands to reason, then, that I must really find some kind of pleasure in giving my time and energy and resources to Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. I've been doing so consistently for more than 8 years. Every winter weekend day. Holidays and Vacations. In good weather and bad. When there is good snow and bad ice. 30 below and in the rain. Teaching, training, coaching, mentoring along with less glamour tasks like hauling equipment, standing around freezing, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming floors, fixing gear, and moving trash.
I give because I am selfish. It makes me feel good. To know that the skills I teach and the time I put in makes a difference to someone; that peoples' lives are better, richer, happier because of the gifts I make; that the organization is stronger and better for my efforts. I don't do it for them. I do it for me. Because I feel good about it. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like I have done something good, that I have contributed, that I have made a difference. I don't give to because I'm a good person or because its the right thing to do or because I am filling some external need. I give because it fills that selfish need in me.
I give because I'm selfish. I just wish I could be more selfish.
My Empowering Internship at Vermont Adaptive
One moment last winter, I sat in Kim Jackson’s office at Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, interviewing as a college student, still unsure of what I wanted to do after I graduated. Now I am sitting in my very own office at Vermont Adaptive, with the job I never knew I always wanted.
When people ask me what I did with my summer, I find it hard to summarize all that I observed and felt during my internship. I grew personally, more than I ever thought possible in one summer.
I can say without a doubt that interning at Vermont Adaptive gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. This past summer I helped plan a major event, The Long Trail Century Ride to benefit Vermont Adaptive, marketed Vermont Adaptive’s brand to audiences on a national level, orchestrated a silent auction, trained with the northern volunteers on Lake Champlain, was a guide to participants who were visually impaired, and paddled in a kayak for the first time. I traveled to places I had never been to before in Vermont (and I’m a native!) and met people from all walks of life. When I started the internship, my goal was to gain professional experience in the industry and help people with disabilities experience opportunities to recreate and overcome their own challenges. But during a time of very difficult transitions in my life, Vermont Adaptive has been my anchor and helped me adapt and overcome as well.
Moments of vast mental clarity have a habit of finding us in random ways. I found mine as I sat in the conference room at the Long Trail Brewing Company next to corporate and town leaders of Killington Resort, the Town of Killington, Long Trail Brewing, the Lookout Tavern and Vermont Adaptive, to plan the Long Trail Century Ride. Coming into the conference room, everyone worked together for one common goal- to help provide adaptive sports to people of all abilities and to create an empowered community at the end of it all. Through the experience, I saw commitment of the whole community, brought together through Vermont Adaptive, to make a difference in the lives of people with special needs and disabilities. It is because of these efforts I can see a brighter future for the community and for people with disabilities throughout the state of Vermont.
This December I will graduate Magna Cum Laude with my degree in hospitality and resort management from Green Mountain College in Killington. In August, I was hired as the new projects and services assistant at Vermont Adaptive. My academic career has overlapped into my new professional world and no matter where my career takes me, Vermont Adaptive is the start of my biggest adventure.
I give to Vermont Adaptive because they have helped me to grow in so many ways and it is my turn now to do what I can to help this amazing organization grow as well.
It's all about the smiles
My wife and I have volunteered with Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports for over 25 years, working with clients with physical and/or mental disabilities, teaching skiing, paddling on 4-day canoe-camping trips, rock climbing and helping in many of their fundraisers. We also donate automatically every month.
The reason we give of our time and money because of all the smiles that spontaneously erupt when a VASS client conquers an outdoor activity. It's that magical moment when they go from being a non-skier to a beginner when their face lights up with a smile because they were scared when they started but now they know they can do it. When they win their race in a sailing regatta even though they can't see their trophy. Or they feel the peace of canoeing to their wilderness site and camping for the night.
It's these moments when they know that they accomplish more in their lives, even though they might have been afraid before. Sometimes the client has barely left their home during the winter because they were afraid of falling on the ice, yet a VASS volunteer has taught them how to ski over ice, so they're not afraid to get out anymore.
It takes special training, special equipment and special people (staff and volunteers) to achieve those smiles. VASS has brings those resources together daily to help clients with any physical or mental disability, from as far south as Virginia, north to Montreal. That creates a lot of smiles up and down the Eastern seaboard.
Seeing all the smiles on VASS clients makes me smile.
I Give to Pay It Forward
I got my first pair of skis when I was three years old but I didn’t fall in love with the mountains until many years later when I learned how to parallel ski. A ski instructor patiently worked with me all day until I had the technique down but she did more than just teach me about skiing. She shared her love of the mountains with me and it's turned into a lifelong passion. Now, I volunteer every weekend with Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. I volunteer to share my love of the mountains with other people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. There’s something spectacular about bringing someone to the top of a mountain and watching them ski down when they thought that they would never be able to ski because of a disability. If you’re not a skier, you may not understand the sense of freedom that it provides. Helping people feel that freedom is one of the many reasons way I volunteer. However, my favorite thing about Vermont Adaptive is that they never turn anyone away. I give my time, talent, and treasure so that Vermont Adaptive can continue to offer recreational opportunities to anyone no matter their circumstances. I give to pay it forward.
Hope, Happiness and Encouragement!
Four years ago, my son Matthew (20) was diagnosed with a life threatening rare form of cancer and also a traumatic brain injury. He was hospitalized for 40 days, underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. He was told he would most likely never ski again. After Matt's first season with Vermont Adaptive, he gained the confidence, self-esteem and physical strength to not only get back on skis, but to be skiing intermediate terrain! The best part was that i was able to ski with him and learn how to ski with him again. The best part...these skills transferred to him being able to go back to college (he's now a 2nd semester student at Saint Michael's College), writing and publishing a book 'My Cancer Card' and being cancer free for 3 years!
Last year, I decided that I would become a volunteer ski instructor through Vermont Adaptive. I wanted to give another parent and young adult that same hope, happiness and encouragement that Vermont Adaptive gave me and my son.