Mountain Recreation Partners with Small Champions to Offer Adaptive Rec
Gypsum, CO – Mountain Recreation holds one core belief above the rest: we believe that everyone deserves to live healthy and happy lives. This unwavering mantra guides the District’s decisions every day as we protect our community’s most prized possessions—your health, your families, and your tax dollars.
Often, this means listening to our community’s needs and responding with the best of our abilities. That is why in June of 2021 we took yet another big step in ensuring equitable access to recreation for everyone in our community through Adaptive Rec. Led by our very own Superintendent of Recreation Programs, Anna Englehart and Small Champions’ Executive Director, John Weiss, Adaptive Rec focuses on youth with a variety of cognitive and physical disabilities. And through repeated reassurance and positive experiences, our instructors have helped Eagle County youth grow, learn, and have fun.
“We’ve been receiving requests from parents to offer programs for their children, who require one-on-one support. Thanks to continued advocacy and communication between parents and our staff, the idea of this partnership was born,” offers Mountain Rec’s Anna Englehart. “Previously we didn’t have the staffing, knowledge, or skills to provide this type of program, now thanks to our partnership with Small Champions we have trained aides and protocols for kids to get the most out of our programs and to be successful.”
What to Expect: Inclusion as a Standard
Inclusion with Mountain Rec and Small Champions means that any person with disabilities is welcome to participate in the same recreation programs and activities as their non-disabled peers – not separate from.
“It’s all about getting out there, playing, having fun, and making memories that will last a lifetime. Regardless of where kids start on day one, we’re here to help them become better than yesterday, and we’re going to do it together,” said Small Champions’ John Weiss.
The program, in its infancy, has targeted some of Mountain Rec’s most popular activities including learn-to-swim, gymnastics, and Rec Kids Day Camps. And with additional activities planned for the future, as more aides become available, we hope to get as many kids active as possible.
“I try to keep our mission of everyone deserves to be healthy and happy on the forefront of my mind when looking at gaps in our services. Our special needs community has historically been underrepresented in our programs. Being a mom myself, I know the importance of kids being active, finding something they love, and feeling a sense of belonging. Through this partnership, we can provide all of this to more kids in our community,” said Englehart.
While we strive to help as many kids as possible, Adaptive Rec is currently in its early stages. We may not be able to accommodate all kids depending on equipment needs to offer a safe and successful environment.
How it Works
We simply ask parents to fill out our online form, tell us about their kiddo in a follow up meeting, and let us take care of the rest. To adequately assess and prepare any type of accommodation for your child, we ask that you give us a two-week advance notice from the start of the program you wish to participate in.
Please keep in mind that space may be limited depending on the requested program. If an inclusion aide is assigned, the aide will contact the parents prior to the first day of the program.
For the past four months Adaptive Rec has welcomed a handful of kids across the Eagle River Valley and with the 2021-2022 school year in full throttle, we’re here to help parents juggling work and caring for their kiddos – especially during school breaks.
““My son absolutely loved the Parkour gym session he went to last night in Gypsum. He came home exhausted and said, ‘I really needed that today,’ “shared a grateful community member.