Adaptive program adding new sports and reaching more people

ASSP making a difference on the slopes. Photo Submitted.

Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks (ASSP) is looking to broaden the services and opportunities available this winter season by adding two sports and reaching out to people with mental
health concerns.

The not-for-profit organization offers customized snowsports instruction to people of all ages with mobility and cognitive challenges. Conceived in 2007, ASSP has evolved over the last ten years to become the wide reaching program it is today, with both a locals’ program and a service for out-of-town guests.

More recently, the group has been broadening its focus beyond those with disabilities to include individuals with mental health concerns, those undergoing rehabilitation and
older people.

“We want to get beyond labelled disabilities,” said Pat McKimmon, ASSP president. “To offer service to anyone who needs more help than a commercial ski school can provide.”

Their mission is to make the mountain experience accessible to all.

Not only is ASSP’s outreach expanding, but they’re also adding new sports to their program this year. Nordic skiing and sledge hockey will be offered, in addition to the regular skiing and snowboarding programs, pending manpower and demand.

For those already looking forward to next year, ASSP is also looking to develop its summer program. To date, they have collaborated with other groups to offer stand-up paddleboarding and waterskiing, but there is also interest for therapeutic horseriding and sailing.

ASSP relies on volunteers to run its programs, and with more offered this year there is a heightened need for people to get involved.

“We offer custom instruction for individual needs and we staff two instructors to one student,” McKimmon explained.

There is also greater need for volunteers behind the scenes and off mountain, with the workload now year-round.

“We need volunteers, but in particular, we need volunteers with the skills and commitment to do the background organization and fundraising and program management,” said McKimmon.

If you’re interested in getting involved, ASSP is hosting an orientation, AGM and lesson sign on night on Oct. 17. For further information or to register online, go to adaptivesportsatsunpeaks.org.

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