Kindness, generosity, and a simple e-mail can go a long way when it comes to helping others. At least, this was my experience when I decided to start-up a winter sport adaptive snowshoe class for people with disabilities.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor’s degree in Science in Rehabilitation Psychology. Throughout my student career, I volunteered in different areas of summer and winter adaptive sports for those with disabilities. Sports included horseback riding, downhill skiing, and swimming. Thus, I have seen the great social, physical, and emotional benefits that come from being outdoors with great people.
Plan The Adaptive Snowshoeing Class
Growing up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, I have always loved to snowshoe. The best part about snowshoeing is that anyone can do it and it requires no lift ticket! For that reason, I had the idea to begin an adaptive snowshoe class in Madison, WI. Most adaptive sports require some sort of adaptive equipment. For example, skiing requires sit-skis and horseback riding requires special reins. However, for snowshoeing, there is no alternative equipment!
First, I advertised the class by putting up flyers around Madison. Then, I spread the word through different organizations. I spoke with the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society, the Wisconsin State Journal, and United Cerebral Palsy. Within days I had e-mails of interest and participants signed up. All I needed were snowshoes and some snow.
With the help of my employer, Judith Hutchinson (vice president of Fontana Sports Specialties), I sent out e-mails to different snowshoe companies asking for any type of donation. To my surprise, Bruce Marsh from Tubbs Snowshoes responded. He was extremely kind and generous and asked about snowshoe sizes and the number of participants.
Less than a week later I opened an e-mail from Tubbs, and Bruce let me know he had sent out 10 pairs of snowshoes for the class! Thus, I was overjoyed that my simple idea of an adaptive snowshoe class was going to become real!
Lead The Class
The adaptive snowshoe class I had included participants of all ages and abilities. From an 11-year-old boy with Down Syndrome to an elderly woman looking for exercise, the class had positive benefits for everyone. I love having the opportunity to share one of my favorite winter outdoor experiences with individuals who may or may not have ever considered snowshoeing.
Through the kindness and generosity of Judith, Bruce, and the Tubbs Snowshoe Company, I am able to enjoy these classes. Now, I spend two hours every Sunday morning snowshoeing with people with disabilities out on the local trails of Madison. Even though winters in Wisconsin are not always easy, they are easily enjoyed when you find something you love.
Find A Adaptive Snowshoeing Class Near You
Many agencies that work with people with disabilities offer adaptive snowshoeing classes and events. In Canada, individual organizations such as CRIS Adaptive Adventures offers adaptive classes. In the U.S., Disabled Sports USA has a comprehensive list of agencies where you can search for adaptive snowshoeing and disability winter sports classes near you.