Durango’s Adaptive Sports Association members are taking time to reflect on a memorable winter before gearing up for what it hopes will be a busy summer. This edition of the Local News Network is brought to you by Happy Pappy’s Pizza n Wings and Kroegers Ace Hardware. I’m Connor Shreve. The Adaptive Sports Association provides outdoor recreation experiences for people with disabilities.
A huge part of our mission is making sure that somebody has at least one experience with the organization if they desire to. And so whether that’s like a half-day quick lesson, we just try to offer some sort of experience just because we know how meaningful that experience can be for somebody.
Program Director Klancy Nixon says volunteers play a large role in ASA’s services which, she says, can be life-changing.
They, you know, it could be a family member, it could be themselves saying, “I can’t do this.” Well then, they come out and with some support, they do it, you know. They’re skiing from the top of the mountain. And so the goal of the program is that they take that experience back home, and they put that to practice within the rest of their life.
She’s seen firsthand the impact the program has on people, often those with newly acquired disabilities. Nixon says she regularly sees students leave the program feeling like a different person just a week after they arrive.
Or, you know, we have family members sometimes who have a child, and they’re like, “I don’t think they’re going to ski with the rest of the family,” and then, well, you know, they’re out skiing as a family, and it’s super powerful. It’s really cool to see that shift in perspective and mindset.
The Adaptive Sports Association gave about 600 lessons this winter which does represent consistent growth out of the COVID pandemic but still not up to pre-pandemic numbers of about 1,000 lessons. Aside from five paid staffers, the work is carried out by volunteers, and Nixon is always looking for new volunteers and says summer training will take place next month. The season kicks off with a San Juan River trip for the disabled veterans at the end of May.
And then our summer program shifts where we do kind of group outings, and we do whitewater rafting, flat-water canoeing and kayaking, cycling. We’ve started off-road cycling as well. We do a water ski day, we do some fishing. We go camping and do multi-day river trips.
Durango’s Adaptive Sports Association partners with groups like Team River Runner for veterans-specific events. The organization serves mostly locals with its summer events compared to a majority of out-of-town clientele in the winter. The group’s local calendar begins in June, and you can find the calendar of events on the ASA website. Other details are available at durangolocal.news. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I’m Connor Shreve.