[caption id="attachment_1261" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Sit Skis"][/caption] When I look around me at the incredible work being done by volunteers, I am amazed by their generosity of spirit and time. Today I wanted to highlight the work done by two volunteer organizations that work with special needs children and youth: Track 3 and The Aspen Deaf Camp. Track 3 is a volunteer non-profit charitable organization that teaches children and youth with disabilities to downhill ski and snowboard. Their mission is to help these kids discover ability through the magic of snow sports. Their motto is “Safety, Fun and Learning”! Every weekend throughout the ski season, you’ll see their dedicated volunteers working with the program participants on the ski slopes throughout Ontario. Some of the students are taught to ski using “sit skis". Other students learn to work with 3-4-track stand up outriggers. The ultimate goal is to give these kids the feeling of freedom and confidence that comes from soaring down the ski slopes … a feeling many of us who have skied all of our lives take for granted. [caption id="attachment_1264" align="alignright" width="118" caption="3-4-track stand up outriggers"][/caption] Track 3 programs are always in need of new ski and snowboard instructors as well as support volunteers. If you would like to volunteer your time, please check out www.track3.org or contact the head office at 416-233-3872 for more information. The Aspen Deaf Camp is a program that works with deaf and hard of hearing children from America and throughout the world. With more than 1,000 participants a year, it's also a retreat center for local public schools and organizations supporting children, including those with autism. Aspen Camp provides unique experiences: skiing, hiking, backpacking, camping, rafting, wilderness training, retreats for parents with deaf children, the best ropes course, sign language classes, chef programs and other educational endeavors. Participants of all ages heighten their communication skills, rely on teamwork, build self-confidence and spontaneously tap into their own strengths through the camp’s programs anchored in nature. It's a place where people build trust and where children become leaders. [caption id="attachment_1267" align="alignleft" width="166" caption="Aspen Deaf Camp Ski Program"][/caption] I was recently approached by the Aspen Deaf Camp to help create a helmet cover that would identify their students on the ski slopes so ski patrol and other resort employees would know how to respond in emergency situations. There’s no point in someone calling out or waving to a deaf or blind student. Tail Wags Helmet Covers, my company, was happy to work with the Aspen Deaf Camp staff to create these unique covers. Patches attached by velcro to the front of each helmet cover will indicate the ski level of each participant. A white patch indicates a first time skier. A green patch indicates a beginner, blue for intermediate and so on. Ski camp starts at the beginning of March and I’ve been promised a group photo of the kids proudly displaying their unique helmet covers. With the downturn in the economy, the Aspen Deaf Camp has been struggling to keep up with its fundraising goals. If you’d like to support the work of this program, please click here. Last week, I wrote about volunteerism (article: Big Government vs Big Society). It’s been reassuring to read and hear the responses of people because everyone seems in agreement that it’s important for us as individuals to fill in the gaps and help out. We can’t keep relying on our governments to take responsibility for all of the needs of our communities. Are you involved as a volunteer in your community? I’d love to hear what you’re doing.
Share this post