NEW HARTFORD, Connecticut — Ski Sundown was blessed this year with not only an abundance of snow, but a great group of new volunteer instructors. STRIDE proudly announces that after three years, this program is now a thriving and solid operation.
Seventy adaptive lessons were booked this season. With some periodic rain outs, 59 were very successful lessons. The program could not be possible without the efforts and dedication of 14 volunteer instructors. The trained, they learned a lot about medical disabilities, they conquered. Their devotion to sharing their love of skiing and snowboarding was always apparent and willingness to give their time was endless. “It really brought perspective into my observations of how we live our lives in relation to other human beings. We all take so many every day activities for granted??В¦..I think it made me a better husband, a better father, and a better person” says Paul Rhoads, an employee at The Hartford and new instructor at Sundown.
The most memorable day of the season was February 4th . Together with the Board of Education Services for the Blind (BESB), STRIDE hosted a very special Teen Escape field trip for a dozen High School students who are visually impaired and blind from around the state of Connecticut to gather on the slopes for a ???meet and greet’ as they embarked on a memory making journey down the slopes in ski lessons specially taught for those who do not have sight. With the help of instructors each youth was given an experience that will empower self esteem. A group photo of that day now graces a wall inside Sundown main lodge that captures the faces of 23 smiling volunteers and 11 elated skiers.
“I speak from the heart when I say that 23 volunteers and 11 kids will take that experience with them for the rest of their lives” said Shelly Gambino, Sundown Adaptive Director, “It’s times like those that we look forward to in the years to come.”
STRIDE would like to thank owner, Bob Switzgable and Ski Sundown for the opportunity to enhance the lives of the people in the community and state whose lives are touched by this program. We look forward to growth and expansion.
Thank you to our sponsors, particularly Wiremold/Legrand and Ski Sundown who so generously allowed us the finances to build this program, including the equipment shed on property and all its contents. We especially want to thank Tauck Workld Discovery of Norwalk CT for their three year foundation grant to help STRIDE accomplish the feat of building a Connecticut base.