Category Archives: Ability Awareness
Ignite Adaptive Sports – 2023 Ski Season
Every winter Nick’s favorite activity (besides shopping) is going to Eldora Ski Resort in Nederland, Colorado and hanging out with the volunteers from Ignite Adaptive Sports for a fun day on the mountain. Nick looks forward to skiing all year, and if you ask him what his favorite thing is during the warmer months, there’s a good chance he’ll still answer “skiing.”
Nick has been a participant with Ignite since 2009 and every year the volunteers continue to be supportive, safety oriented, and kind. They always make sure Nick feels safe and check that he had a good time on the slopes.
For the last couple of years, Kevin Wilson has been the scheduler for Ignite. Kevin is also a person who uses a wheelchair, and a few times this season he joined Nick on the mountain in his mono ski. Kevin goes above and beyond to accommodate participants and volunteers, and makes sure everyone is safe and happy. He’s a passionate skier and Nick thinks his hair is pretty cool. Bring him some sushi, it’s his favorite!
Getting Nick prepped to go out is an intense process, but with Nick’s unique needs it’s important his body is comfortably and safely positioned for his lesson. This involves several different types of pads, straps, and usually a bit of duct tape! Once he’s ready to go, he stays out for 2 hours and goes on a ton of different runs, and even goes on black diamonds and the half pipe! Nick says the ski lift can be a little scary, but the volunteers always talk him through the ride and get him safely to the top.
Check out these videos of Nick skiing with some incredible Ignite volunteers!
One of Nick’s favorite parts of the ski season is his trip up the mountain with Adaptive Recreation Opportunities (ARO) with Fort Collins Recreation. Greg Shaner is one of Nick’s favorite people and a long time friend. He drives the ARO van and its participants up to Eldora for a full day of ski lessons and never loses his upbeat and positive attitude.
Karl, one of the volunteers, a veteran who used to be a participant himself, brings his service dog Red up to the Ignite building with him, and Nick loves seeing Karl and Red!
Nick sometimes comes in from his lesson covered in snow and a little worn out, but he never complains because he had a blast! He always talks about how much fun he had on the ride home. This wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who come back every year.
Nick loves when he gets to go out with Ignite volunteer Brian, because he knows he’s gonna go fast! Brian takes Nick on the half pipe and even plays music for Nick on his bluetooth speaker! Nick loved listening to the soundtrack to one of his favorite movies, Gigi, while he was racing down the mountain! Thanks Brain!
Bobby is another volunteer Nick loved getting to see several times over the season. Nick thought Bobby was so nice, and he made Nick feel very safe every time they skiied together.
Nick and his team want to thank Ignite Adaptive Sports so much for all they do for all of their participants, from people with with vision loss, to disabled veterans, to participants on the autism spectrum, Ignite works with everyone as an individual with their own unique needs and treats participants and their families with respect and kindness.
Donate to Ignite Adaptive Sport’s new facility!
Ignite is breaking ground on their new state of the art facility at Eldora this month, and Nick would like to ask his supporters to consider donating to their fundraiser by clicking this link. You can also follow Ignite on Facebook and find the fundraiser link there.
Centennial High School Presentation
You bet your sweet little bippy, we’re back!
Nick was so excited to get back into a classroom and do a presentation for some awesome students at Centennial High School in Fort Collins, Colorado!
Blythe Johnson, a teacher at Centennial, reached out to Nick via his website, and asked him to come present to her classroom. Her class was doing a section on personal narratives and Nick was invited to come and share his story to her students.
Nick presented a blended version of his Ted X talk and his Why Try speech to the students, who Nick says were “awesome.”
Nick spoke for about 20 minutes about his life growing up in Africa, his hard work to achieve his dreams and goals, and his dedication to changing the perception of the differently abled. The presentation included pictures from Nick’s childhood in Africa, as well as pictures and videos of his various adaptive sporting events including waterskiing and white water rafting.
The students were amazing, receptive to Nick’s message, and asked meaningful questions at the end of the presentation. They also all gathered around Nick to show him pictures of their pets! Nick loved this, and was laughing so hard. One student had pet pigs, and Nick thought this was so funny.
The teacher, Blythe Johnson, was so kind to Nick, and so patient with Awesome in Action as we got back in the swing of in person presentations. It was obvious to Nick and his team that Blythe really makes a difference to her students and really cares about showing them new perspectives of the world.
Nick couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to present to the class, and is so excited to get back into in person presenting.
Nick’s next event is Wicked West Expo at the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland, Colorado on April 15th and 16th where he will have a booth, and host a panel where he will give his Anyone Can be a Hero presentation. He hopes you will come and support him and check out the awesome exhibitors!