WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) – They’re two names you may be familiar with — Chill and Vermont Adaptive. For years, the two nonprofits have been working individually to help Vermont’s youth overcome challenges, and get outside. But for the first time ever, they’ve joined forces to roll out a new program in Chittenden County.
Next time you head to the skate park, you may see a few new skaters around. Brody McLaughlin might be one of them. He’s learning to skateboard through a new program launched by Chill and Vermont Adaptive.
“Super good, I went pretty far. I was able to skate on the board and drop-in,” says McLaughlin.
The groups have been meeting each Wednesday for a few weeks to teach community members with disabilities how to ride the concrete wave.
“We believe in breaking down the barriers to access. So, whether those barriers are financial, in terms of being able to afford equipment, or just in terms of the social inclusion piece, or just the know-how around how to adapt an activity. We want to provide access to the culture of Vermont,” says Norm Staunton of Vermont Adaptive.
Breaking down those barriers comes in different forms. Staunton says Vermont Adaptive focuses on skiing and snowboarding in winter, and other summer sports like paddling and biking in the warmer months.
Which is why they’ve partnered with Chill, which was founded by the owners of Burton to help teach these athletes how to skateboard.
“We incorporate this core value-driven curriculum with activities that challenge our participants to step outside of their comfort zone, teach them some lessons, and some ways to do that to allow them to do that on skateboards,” says Bailey Monty of Chill.
Before each skate lesson, Chill hones in on some life lessons for skaters to keep with them, like goal setting, persistence, and patience. “What does it look like to have to try standing and pushing on a skateboard and fall off and get back on and fall off and get back on? Being patient with ourselves and the process and being persistent with keeping going when things are challenging,” says Monty.
And those core values were on display for these skaters this week, who all continued to grind towards their goals, even when things got tough.
“To see it happen and to actually get athletes out and be in a skate park, seeing folks on boards and starting to interact with the rest of the skate community and starting to interact as peers and as equals on decks in the park — it was just killer, it was awesome,” says Staunton.
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