Inclusion Weekend with Adaptive Adventures Recap

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What is it about Colorado Young Leaders that makes it different… that makes it worth it?

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When I heard about the Inclusion Weekend Leadership camp with Adaptive Adventures, I immediately knew that I wanted to go! I set a goal to pay for it myself, worked some extra hours to pay for the trip, and signed up. I had already completed a training to learn how to volunteer on sit ski, mono ski, and stand lessons with people with physical and cognitive disabilities the month before, but that training was nothing compared to the actually experience of this camp. In all honesty, I went in a little bit clueless, and the surprise was indescribable!

It began when my good friend Adam, fellow Young Leader Logan, and I stepped into the car with some of our CYL college interns: Kaylie and Blake. The car ride alone began making this trip worth it to me. As a teenager, adults tend to treat me with sympathetic compliments, or find annoyance in my jokes. It occurred to me very quickly that these were not “adults,” to us, they were mature, experienced mentors.  I could relate to them, joke with them, and learn from them.  In fact, they even managed to work around my incredible stubbornness. I got to know Blake and Kaylie pretty well, which definitely contributed to the experience I gained from the trip.

When we finally arrived at the Keystone Science Center, where we were staying, I walked in, pumped up, as my ears were ringing from the blasting party music we had listened to during the ride. I got to meet the people I was going to be skiing with, and I was thoroughly surprised. Everyone was within the range of my age, and instantly I began to click with people. One of the first guys I met was named Chandler. I got to get to know him pretty well over the weekend, and it was awesome to learn about this passion for the sports he played, but it was even cooler to see him shredding down the mountain on a monoski.

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On the mountain, we made our initial bonds with our peers with disabilities.  For example, I met, Sev, a 16 year old involved with Adaptive Adventures, who I must admit, I was frightened to go the same speed as him down the mountain. He was probably the fastest snowboarder on the trip, and I had to practically straight line in order to keep up with him! It was our days on the mountains that allowed me to go back to the lodge and talk to these guys and girls in fake ski/board slang about life, and jokes, and all of the memorable events from the day.

adaptadv4Each night of the camp, we participated in leadership skills development workshops with the CYL staff, Adaptive Adventures staff, and Keystone Adaptive Center staff. This is where we truly cemented our bonds and processed our days together. We learned each others strengths and weaknesses, and the leadership exercises we participated in, really opened us up and we learned so much about each other.

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When I returned home from this trip, I spent about two days reminiscing the events, and not regretting anything. Not only was this Service Adventure Leadership Camp fun, but I learned a lot about myself and about how to be a leader. I know most people would refer to this excursion as volunteering, but that’s not what it was for my fellow Young Leaders and I. This was a trip to the mountains with some “old friends,” and some peers from Adaptive Adventures that I didn’t know were my friends yet. I look forward to seeing the people I was on this trip with again, and I look forward to my next CYL Service Adventure. My motto in life is quite simple, “live life to the fullest.” Colorado Young Leaders does not only fill up my cup of life, it allows it to overflow and drip into everyone’s cup around me. The best part is that if my cup starts getting a little bit empty, I know that any of the other CYL members or staff will pour a little bit of their life water into my cup. That’s what Colorado Young Leaders means to me, that’s what makes it different…THAT is what makes it worth it.

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February 20, 2015

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