Rocky Mountain Adaptive Enriched My Life
From one volunteer to another
Rocky Mountain Adaptive Enriched My Life
Looking back to 2012, I was working as an accountant in the corporate world in downtown Toronto, if you told me 10 years later, I would be living and working in Alberta as a ski instructor, a hiking guide, and a volunteer for an organization who offers sports programs and activities for people who live with various disabilities, I would have said “No, you are crazy, I am NEVER leaving downtown Toronto, the CENTRE of Canada”. I left the corporate world in downtown Toronto in 2014, and moved to Alberta in 2017.
The first time I came across Rocky Mountain Adaptive was during a wellness fair at The Malcolm Hotel in Canmore in November 2019. I wrote my name and my email address on a list and did not expect to hear anything from anyone. To my surprise, I received an email from Jocelyn, volunteer co-ordinator at the time. Her email was so warm and so welcoming I decided to give volunteering a try. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
As an experienced Canadian and New Zealand certified ski instructor who teaches skiing, I love skiing so much I decided to volunteer to ski with Rocky Mountain Adaptive participants when I am not teaching skiing. I started volunteering in December 2019, even though it is not required, I wanted to be a better volunteer. I took my adaptive ski instructor exam – just one month later – in January 2020. I became a Canadian Adaptive certified ski instructor.
My first client when volunteering for Rocky Mountain Adaptive was Andrea. Andrea uses a wheelchair and skis on a sit ski. Andrea and I got along so well that we became personal friends outside of my volunteering at Rocky Mountain Adaptive.
In my first-year volunteering with Rocky Mountain Adaptive, it was also the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Skiing was completely shut down by mid-March. Most of world travelling was shut down, Rocky Mountain Adaptive was able to resume summer sports under restrictions. Since I could not go to New Zealand for my second winter, I do not know how to swim, and I could barely ride a bicycle, I could only volunteer with the hiking program. Little did I know I would actually like hiking and became an Interpretive Guide 2 years later.
As I am someone who lives with Asperger’s, I can teach adaptive skiing, volunteer with adaptive skiing and hiking. I am also a program participant in the golf program and the leisure cycling program. I am fully accepted in the Rocky Mountain Adaptive community of instructors, volunteers, and participants. There are a handful of us who are instructors, volunteers, and program participants.
Besides volunteering many, many hours at Rocky Mountain Adaptive, I also donate regularly to various fundraisers. Why would anyone want to support Rocky Mountain Adaptive? As one of the long-time participants at Rocky Mountain Adaptive Andrea once said “After I broke my back I can stay home and cry or I can go out to do things. I decided to go out to do things.” Andrea is now a competent sit skier and white-water kayaker in rapids on the Bow River. Rocky Mountain Adaptive offers life changing experiences for participants, volunteers, and employees.
Keeping programs affordable by fundraising allows Rocky Mountain Adaptive to offset the full cost of our programming. Rocky Mountain Adaptive charges our participants between 5 and 45 per cent of the total cost of programming. Rocky Mountain Adaptive do a lot with very little.
All financial support allows Rocky Mountain Adaptive to fulfil its mission in increasing the impact, program range, and making sure that people of all abilities have the foundation and support to participate, learn, and excel in sports and recreation in the Canadian Rockies.
From one donor to another, from one volunteer to another, from one participant to another, I encourage you to donate, to volunteer, and to promote our programming to new participants. Thank you to Rocky Mountain Adaptive for enriching my life and many others I have met since 2019. My life became so much richer because of Rocky Mountain Adaptive.