Outdoors-For-All, the Heroes Among Us
By William May
Published: 06/09/14 Topics: Comments:
It was over 10 years ago that we first came in contact with the Ski-For-All Foundation.
In the Northwest United States, snow skiing is a rite of winter. Not everyone in the area participates, but the mountains beckon to most of us. In fact, many people are zealous about spending time in the great outdoors and especially in winter.
It is no wonder that some of the most fervent fans got together to share their joy with those least likely to get out.
OUTDOORS FOR ALL:
Using committed volunteers, generous donors and specialized equipment, Ski-For-All helps disabled children and adults to ski and snowboard.
Even the blind can be lead down the mountain at speeds that able bodied non-skiers find frightening, but that finds the sightless skier whooping and laughing at the top of their lungs.
By holding onto a short leash with a sighted skier, and sensing the tension between the two it makes your heart flutter so see how fearless they are.
Who could imagine that even quadriplegics can ski?
It is done by putting the client into a toboggan with four skiers hold tethers affixed to the four corners, the client can speed downhill at an astonishing rate, and everywhere others skiers stop and watch and often cheer.
It takes lots of preparation and time for just one run. But one run is seldom enough for the client. So the volunteers load the toboggan and the client back onto a chair lift to go back to the top. They repeat the journey for as long as the client wants or until the ski area closes (usually the later.)
Knowing of this wonderful organization, we thought it grand to donate use of our vacation rental homes to Ski-For-All and were delighted when they could bring clients to the mountains for over-night trips.
After the first stay, however we received a disappointing phone call. It was the housekeeper who said, "something is wrong, no one slept in the beds."
Embarrassed, I called Ski-For-All and apologized saying "of course it would be absolutely fine for them to sleep in the homes we provided."
The director laughed out loud on the phone. "You don't understand," she said, "these kids spend much of their lives in bed. So sleeping in a sleeping bag, in a cabin on the floor was a thrilling time for them"
"Oh," I said, "I had no idea."
I would like to invite you to donate use of your vacation rental home to charitable groups too. It would be great if you wanted to call Ski-for-All, but in fact your generous donation will be appreciated by any not-for-profit group you can think of.
You'll receive nice thank you of course, but the warm glow of satisfaction will come the minute they book your place. You will be using the riches you possess to help those who need it most.
VACATION RENTAL ANGELS
To recognize the generosity of the wonderful vacation home owners who donate to worthy charities, the Vacation Rental Association (vrai.org) has formed a "Vacation Rental Angels" program on which their properties can be advertised. Its all for free and our small way of saying thank you. (VacationRentalAngels.com)
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Over time the Foundation has increased its programs to include hiking, biking kayaking, canoeing, yoga and even rock climbing. The newly christened "Outdoors-For-All" is the same great bunch of people now spreading its love of the outdoors to an ever wider circle of people who long to get out and enjoy the environment. (OutdoorsForAll.org)
Author: William May, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0377 – 06/09/14