To Pat McKimmon, being a Sun Peaks local means being able to spontaneously meet up with friends and having many opportunities to provide hands-on help in the community. And as the past-president of Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks (ASSP), helping others is an area McKimmon knows well.
McKimmon has spent part of the winters in Sun Peaks for many years, but since the beginning of the pandemic has been living here full-time for over half the year.
Her involvement in the community began about 10 years ago when she reignited her love for skiing and became a volunteer for ASSP.
“My sister had moved here, and I hadn’t even thought of skiing. I had quit for a long time,” McKimmon said. “The first year I came back skiing, she introduced me to [ASSP’s] founding father … Then, when I retired the next year, I took the [instructor] course and rolled up my sleeves.”
McKimmon explained there are four categories at ASSP: autism, cognitive impairment, sit-ski and three and four track. McKimmon is on the training committee as the specialist and lead trainer for the autism certification. She also teaches lessons and helps instructors on weekends throughout the winter.
McKimmon took on extra managerial work this winter and estimated she put in about 300 to 400 volunteer hours with ASSP.
“We had a staffing problem with [not] having a program manager,” she said. “There’s actually three of us that shared that management that had done it before … So we stepped in and did that on top of our other work.”
ASSP isn’t the only way McKimmon volunteers in the community — she also helps sort returnables at the bottle depot. She says she loves to keep busy, and Sun Peaks is just the place to do it.
McKimmon also enjoys the small community because she can call up her friends anytime to go hiking, skiing, or hit up a local restaurant, especially since the COVID-19 restrictions have eased.
“I like going to the businesses and knowing the people who work there,” McKimmon said. “We just had a couple of music nights that we hadn’t had for a few years at Powder Hounds. And it’s like the old crowd is back.”
Overall, McKimmon is known by her peers as an enthusiastic presence in all areas of the community and in 2020 was awarded administrator of the year for the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS) national awards.
Anyone who is interested in getting involved with ASSP can visit adaptivesportsatsunpeaks.org for more information.