Wasatch Adaptive Sport’s project “Building Independence Through Recreation” aims to engage more Utahns of all ages living with SCI/D in the organization’s expanded adaptive skiing and cycling programs. Desired growth will be accomplished by more deeply engaging local medical institutions who directly refer patients with SCI/D to WAS programming in order to promote rehabilitation and community integration in a non-clinical setting. This project also focuses on strengthening the adaptive skiing and cycling programs by creating a continuum of services which will help participants maximize independence through recreation. Currently, the adaptive skiing and cycling programs focus on providing highly personalized private lessons in order to help program participants build skills in recreation and gain independence. This project will build on this existing programming by creating a multi-tiered approach to skiing and cycling programming through the introduction of group sessions and a rental program. These new program extensions will help WAS better meet the various needs of participants along the independence spectrum. Following WAS’s current model, participants will have access to this range of programming at little to no cost so that financial position is not a barrier to engagement.
WAS projects that the organization will be able to serve 60 individuals with SCI/D through 380 skiing and cycling lessons during the one-year project period. The organization expects that 60% of students with SCI/D who participate at least 6 times during the project period will progress from private lessons into group sessions and/or the rental program. At least 90% of the participants who participate at least 4 times are also projected to self-report increased independence and improved quality of life as a result of program engagement. Finally, this project has broader significance as WAS’s unique program and referral system creates a model for other community based adaptive recreation organizations to replicate in their own local areas.
This project is highly relevant to the Neilsen Foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life for those affected by and living with spinal cord injury. Through the Arts/Sports & Recreation program area, the Foundation seeks to help individuals to live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities and support innovative programs that improve participation and independence. “Building Independence Through Recreation” aims to accomplish this on a local level by directly improving independence, health, and happiness through skiing and cycling programming in an innovative manner, and on a national level by setting an example for other locally based adaptive recreation organizations to follow. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)