Funded ProjectsAdaptive Sports Center enables the adventurous

August 6, 2013

Jake O’Connor skiing on the extremes at Crested Butted Mountain Resort, serves as an inspirition to other athletes participating in the Adaptive Sports Center programs.

At the Adaptive Sports Center (ASC), we seem to always find ourselves talking about the smiles that are witnessed on a daily basis. The ASC has provided outdoor adventure activities for people with disabilities and their families since 1987 in and around Crested Butte, Colorado, and the happiness of our participants is a topic that year after year, just doesn’t get old.

The broad grins we see are contagious, and are brought about by pure, exhilarating fun: zipping down the mountain in a sit-ski on a powder day, handcycling through a giant mud puddle and getting splashed, or canoeing through serene lake waters and sharing a joke and a laugh with a new friend.

We also see an equal amount of happy faces that are due to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment: a veteran with double above-the-knee amputations completing an overnight river rafting trip, a child who has visual impairments making successful turns on the snow, or a teenage burn survivor rock climbing for the first time and making it to the top.

Our instructors and administrative staff come to work every day with smiles on their faces, too, because the work is fun and intensely rewarding, and we are inspired daily by the determination and positive attitudes of our clients. We know we have done our job well when we see our clients reap both immediate and long-term benefits from taking part in outdoor recreation activities. We are also very fortunate to live in a tight-knit, supportive small town, and enjoy a wonderful sense of community at the ASC. It is a far-reaching network of individuals that includes participants, staff, interns, volunteers, donors, and the friends and families of all of the above.

The Chris Mikesell Foundation became a valued member of the ASC community in 2011, when it first provided financial support for our programs. In 2012, we received a second gift of funding from The Foundation. These generous contributions have been put into our general operating fund, and in turn, used for the daily expenses associated with running our programs. Additionally, these contributions have boosted our general scholarship fund, which exists so that individuals who demonstrate financial need beyond our standard fees—which are already subsidized in order to be affordable for most—can reap the benefits of our programs regardless of their income bracket.

Most importantly, we see The Foundation as a valued partner that shares a similar mission. We each have a keen understanding of the positive transformative effect nature can have on people who come from all walks of life, and seek out new avenues for getting more individuals outside. Last year, the ASC provided more than 5,000 successful lessons to clients from 42 states and six different countries—a record in our 25 years of existence, and something we are very proud of. We are so grateful for the support of the Chris Mikesell Foundation for helping us reach this significant milestone.

With winter conditions already in full effect in Crested Butte, we are looking forward to getting out on the mountain once again, and enjoying all of the excitement the ski season has to offer. Even with the temperature rapidly dropping, summer is also very much on our minds—especially this year. In 2011, we purchased a new building in the town of Crested Butte that will serve as our hub for summer programs. Renovations to make the building fully accessible started a few months ago, and we are eagerly looking forward to opening our doors in the spring. With the capacity to serve even more people than ever before, we expect to experience careful growth of our programs in the upcoming season and beyond.

There is always something exciting and inspiring going on at the ASC, and we invite you to learn more by visiting our website www.adaptivesports.org, or by calling 970-349-5075. Better yet, stop by our offices in the Treasury Center on Mt. Crested Butte anytime, to witness the smiles in person. You’ll be glad you did.

— Submitted by Mike Neustedter, ASC Marketing Director, November 2012

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