Posted by Craig Vroom on Sep 01, 2019
Awesome Article for Rotary District Bulletin
Awesome Article for Rotary District Bulletin

Adaptive Wilderness Sports of McCall (AWeSOMe!) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people of all abilities through high-quality outdoor experiences.  Ethan Crosby is a young man with good upper-body strength but is partially paralyzed in his legs.  Ethan and his parents discovered AWeSOMe in McCall a few years ago and, since then, it has been a match made in heaven.  
Ethan began his experience with AWeSOMe as a skier.  He learned new skills, challenged himself, and built his self confidence on the slopes under the guidance of AWeSOMe volunteers who give up their own personal time to provide ski lessons to those who could use a little assist.  But now it was summer and Ethan’s parents were wondering how they could help Ethan with learning to kayak.  They felt they didn’t have the knowledge, equipment, or skills to properly work with Ethan.  So they were extremely excited when they learned that some of the same people who worked to make the AWeSOME ski program such a success for their family were  starting a summer sports program to teach those with disabilities to kayak.    
Ethan’s parents enrolled Ethan in the summer kayaking program and, again, AWeSOMe had a tremendous impact on the Crosby family.  In fact, Ethan’s dad wrote the following to AWeSOMe: “We have made the conscious choice to take the higher quality of life offered in rural Idaho over the greater services offered in a large metropolitan area - and it is thanks to you that we have another means (kayaking) of exercising as a family outdoors.”   AWeSOMe’s impact on Ethan, his family, and others has been nothing short of spectacular.  Last season, AWeSOMe provided 120 lessons, to both children and adults. From January to mid March, a 10-week lesson program was offered every Saturday - and lessons by appointment during the week.  But their success in helping others has been taking its toll on their equipment.  It was beginning to age through use and limiting the instructors’ abilities to teach effectively.  Enter Rotary.

AWeSOMe applied for a grant from the McCall Rotary Foundation for enough funds to purchase a Dynamique Bi Ski Junior and associated supporting equipment.  The Foundation awarded them $6,500.  Then the McCall Club applied for matching funds from Rotary District 5400 for a Monique-1 Mono Adult Ski.  Acquiring both sets of equipment would provide the versatility needed for a wide range of students with physical and/or cognitive diagnoses. The advantage to purchasing the two together is that AWeSOMe can share common parts between the two skis allowing them to serve students of all ages, and sizes without having to purchase two sets of Child, Junior, and adult seats/footrest.  The District granted the funds requested.      
Dave Robey, the McCall club’s Director of Community Service, who has put in countless hours to help disabled skiers and kayakers, is thrilled with the support provided by the local club and the district.  He, and all the volunteers at AWeSOMe, realize that both skis create independence and allow the individual to experience the joys of skiing.  So, virtually any student with a diminished capacity for balance, strength, cognitive understanding, or even psychological fear may benefit from the equipment provided by Rotary. The good folks at AWeSOMe are now better prepared to help even more students with disabilities.  
If you know someone who may benefit from their good work, you can visit their website or contact them through email at: