ASPNC was thrilled to welcome 18 adaptive athletes to Soaring Spirits 2021! Athletes had the opportunity to go up in a glider plane with the Franconia Glider Foundation, ride bikes with Eastern Adaptive Sports and enjoy a lunch donated by the Franconia Market and Deli. This is the sixth year the Franconia Glider Foundation has partnered with ASPNC for Soaring Spirits, an adaptive day to let your spirit soar!
ADAPTIVE SPORTS PARTNERS OF THE NORTH COUNTRY NAMES KELLY WALSH AS ITS NEXT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country (ASPNC) is excited to announce the hiring of Kelly Walsh as its next Executive Director. Kelly will become the organization’s third leader in its nearly 13 years of enriching the quality of life for people with disabilities in the north country through year-round sports, recreation, and wellness programs. “We are excited that Kelly will be joining ASPNC. Kelly’s passion, experience, wisdom, and vision will help us move from strength to strength. We are grateful that Thomas and Kelly will have a chance to work together over the summer so as to ensure a smooth transition and a successful Sunrise Ascent, our biggest fundraiser. Together with our vibrant community of volunteers and capable staff, we are confident that Kelly will continue to advance the ASPNC mission,” says ASPNC Board President Shane MacElhiney Kelly earned her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in Recreational Therapy from Indiana University. She has a deep background in adaptive sports as well as significant experience leading and growing high-quality recreational programs. “ASPNC is an amazing organization, and I am so excited to be joining this wonderful community. I have been fortunate to collaborate with ASPNC in my previous position and know that I am joining a hard-working, dedicated, mission-driven team. I am ready to continue the great work of Sandy and Thomas–and so many others in the community–to help ASPNC continue to grow and enrich the quality of life for people with disabilities in meaningful and significant ways.” Kelly comes to ASPNC with over 10 years of experience in the field of Adaptive Sports. Prior to joining ASPNC, she worked as Program Coordinator for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, growing and establishing many adaptive sports programs in Vermont. Most recently, she served as Athletic Director for Kingdom East School District and Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Littleton, focusing on creating inclusive programming and building access to outdoor recreation for everyone. Kelly holds various certifications including being a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Certified Adaptive Recreation and Sport Specialist, a Level 1 Adaptive SUP Instructor, and a PSIA Level 1 Adaptive Ski Instructor. She has also been chosen to present on adaptive sports at the National Outdoor Recreation Conference. Kelly currently lives in Lyndonville with her partner, Seth, their two kids, and three dogs. She is an avid skier, ultrarunner, Ironman finisher, and lover of the outdoors.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year of operating under COVID conditions, but we have been able to adapt and overcome and continue to operate. Sadly, our winter season has come and gone and we’re gearing up for Spring! Although we had a smaller than normal winter season we still had an amazing time enjoying the outdoors in the North Country. This winter we were able to offer Alpine Skiing and Riding, Nordic skiing and Winter hiking programming. This year’s Nordic program had some of the best snow conditions that ASPNC has seen in years. This small program has a dedicated group of volunteers that came out every week to share their love of Nordic skiing with our participants. This year they were really able to work on technique. Winter Hiking was a great time and really got to enjoy our new snowshoes and micro spikes, provided by a generous grant from the Tillotson Foundation. Over the last couple winter seasons it seems like micro spikes are all that we get to use but this winter delivered some beautiful snow to try out new equipment with. Everyone loved the new shoes and they have proven to be an excellent addition to our fleet of equipment. Our Alpine Ski and Ride program ran again this year out of Cannon Mountain. Alpine programming was one of our trickier programs to run logistically with COVID, due to the use of the lodge. ASPNC is beyond grateful for our partnership with Cannon Mountain and thankful that they again expand our space in the Peabody lodge to allow participants and volunteers to safely distance while inside. Though our season was shortened by a delayed start due to weather, we were able to wrap up our season with our 50% capacity goal for lessons, providing 250 lesson sessions. Though much of our sit down equipment had a delayed season, we were excited to get most of our participants in sit down equipment, including the TetraSki and the TandemFlex, out for some gorgeous and sunny ski days in March.
Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country (ASPNC) is gearing up for an expanded adaptive snowshoe and winter hiking program this season thanks to an impactful grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. As part of ASPNC’s strategy to offer as many safe, adaptive sports and outdoor recreation opportunities as possible to people with disabilities during these difficult times, they are doubling down on their winter hiking and snowshoeing program. “This activity will allow our participants and volunteers to get outside in the woods and stay active during the winter season in a safe, socially-distanced way,” said ASPNC Program Manager, Nate Hanson. “We really appreciate the support from the Tillotson Fund and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.” said ASPNC Executive Director Thomas Shovlin. “This investment has allowed ASPNC to add 20 pairs of snowshoes and microspikes to our program, and most importantly, allowed us to expand the number of days we can offer this program.” The grant also covered the purchase of a new TrailRider, a specialized piece of equipment that ASPNC uses to offer year-round hiking experiences to people who use a power wheelchair or have significant mobility challenges. Other partners who helped make this program happen for ASPNC include TSL Snowshoes and REI North Conway. ASPNC will be offering winter hiking and snowshoeing programs three to four times per week and registration for participants who have disabilities can be completed online at www.adaptivesportspartners.org or by calling the office at 823-5232. This winter season, ASPNC is also offering a limited alpine skiing and snowboarding program seven days a week at Cannon Mountain and Nordic skiing opportunities at Franconia Inn and Ski Hearth. If you would like to participate or volunteer to help others enjoy the outdoor experience, please contact Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country at 823-5232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
195PARTICIPANTS 24,000MILES LOGGED $85k RAISED IN 2020 As we have learned this year, we must be able to adapt. It is something we at ASPNC do best, especially when it comes to making outdoor sports, recreation, and wellness activities accessible to all! This year we’ve had to adapt our most important fundraising event, The Sunrise Ascent on Mt. Washington. Since we could not hike as a large group, we launched the July Mileage Challenge through the month of July, at a time when we would typically be training for the ascent. The July mileage challenge was a virtual or remote event allowing people to join a team from anywhere in the world! Throughout the month of July, we challenged our athletes and mules to partake in an “any which way you can” mileage challenge for the month of July to promote healthy, human-powered exercise and recreation. Ride, run, walk, paddle, or roll, just be active! Some of the activities we saw logged included: walking, biking, rowing, running, tennis, kayaking, wheelchair tennis, hiking, disc golf, krav maga, lawn mowing, swimming, handcycling, glide cycling, yoga, awareness through movement, peloton, interval training, roller blading, gardening, paddle boating, and golf. Though we set our initial mileage goal at 6,288 miles (Mt. Washington is 6,288 feet tall), we quickly realized that the summit was far too low for our group! By the end of July, our more than 190 participants logged over 24,000 miles of human-powered recreation. On August 2nd, 2020, in celebration of this amazing effort, we hosted a sunrise car parade up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Heading up the auto road in the predawn hours, we were greeted at the summit with a sunrise view of the majestic Presidential Mountain Range and even a rainbow or two. Click here to see more about the 11th Annual Sunrise Ascent on Mt. Washington