By Rachel Cohen
Interning with the Adaptive Sports Foundation has been the experience of a lifetime. After graduating with a business degree and then living abroad, I was still unsure about what I wanted to do. A typical office job has never really inspired me and I’ve always liked helping people. I was introduced to someone in New Zealand teaching people with disabilites to snowboard. That experience peaked my interest so when I came back home, I decided to look up different adaptive sport programs in the United States. Thankfully, things fell right into place with ASF. The staff was extremely helpful from the start in finding me accommodation (since I was coming from Florida) and expressed how happy they were to have me as a member of the team.
Arriving in Windham was a bit of a culture shock since I was moving from Fort Lauderdale to a small town like Windham. However, the people were great and I quickly fell in love with my new home. The Gwen Allard Adaptive Sports Center’s location in the mountains made for a great office view. I loved the walks and occasional bike ride up to work each morning. A typical office day started with a coffee, smiles, joking around and then got into planning for upcoming events. I spent a little over a month interning which doesn’t seem long considering all of the inspiring events I got to be a part of and incredible people I met.
The calendar of summer events included golf, kayaking, cycling, waterskiing, and the Warrior Dash. There were participants of all ages and with different disabilities that I had the pleasure to meet and bond with. The atmosphere was always so comfortable that it made it easy to connect with people and have a good time. I can’t describe the impact this opportunity has had on me. Each event, volunteer, participant and co-worker has individually taught me and opened my eyes to greater things. I’ve always liked helping people but now I know it’s something I have to do. It brings a genuine smile to my face and reminds me of what life’s all about.
It’s sad to leave Windham, but I know I’ll be back. I’m heading home to Florida to continue school with the goal of becoming an Occupational Therapist. Fingers crossed I will be back for winter. I wouldn’t want to miss out on that! Thanks to everyone at the Adaptive Sports Foundation. I miss it already!