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December 9, 2021 | Internships, News, Telling Stories
My name is Grant Edebohls and I apprenticed with Vermont Adaptive on the Burlington Waterfront during the summer of 2021. I heard about Vermont Adaptive through the Vermont 100, which is an eduro race that supports the program, and have been a participant since August 2020. My first experience with VASS was kayaking and it was an eye-opening experience because I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to kayak without them. I have since begun to learn to ski at Bolton Valley Resort through Vermont Adaptive and am excited to continue this upcoming winter.
Before I was offered the apprenticeship position, I was biking and paddling two days a week for each activity. I began to help out with moving boats and bikes for other participants and taking on more responsibilities in my own programming. I was originally caught a little off guard when the opportunity to do the apprenticeship program was first presented to me. I didn’t think I was eligible because I started as a participant but I knew I had potential to grow at Vermont Adaptive. I received encouraging feedback to do the apprenticeship from Norm and Molly and accepted as I knew I was capable and that it would be fun and a good challenge.
As an apprentice, I helped to prep boats and bikes for other participants and put away gear after programming. At the start, I spent a good amount of time furthering my kayaking skills with Molly. I was given a kayaking task list that I had to practice and then demonstrate showing both my teaching skills and safety techniques. Since then I haveI have gained interest in learning more about bike maintenance and mechanics as well as hope to become a certified kayak instructor some day.
As a part of the program, I took a CPR and first aid course and learned a lot that applied both to VASS operations as well as real life outside of the program. I also did an online course called CARSS, Certified Adaptive Sports and Recreation Specialist, which helped me to better understand how the adaptive sports community works. In regards to Vermont Adaptive specifically, I did the virtual volunteer training which solidified my understanding of the program and how it works. The most important topic for me was the disability sensitivity training as I wanted to know how to better myself and my interactions when working with people.
I gained a lot of experience when it comes to working with people. I learned to ensure their needs are met while following Vermont Adaptive’s mantra of safety, fun, and learning. I found that checking in and communicating with people helped make sure that they were. This was especially important for when I began captaining the tandem recumbent trikes. I remember seeing a recumbent bike on a bike path in Georgia and thought ‘wow that is really cool and I hope to try one someday.’ And I did. I have really enjoyed the tandem experience and getting the opportunity to try out different bikes.
I had the opportunity to work with a group of students from Champlain Valley Union High School. It was a fun learning experience because the group had a diverse range of abilities. I helped set up and adjust bikes to meet participants’ needs and even got to observe how to use a hoyer lift to transfer students from their chair to the bike. I also worked with a group called Partners in Adventure, PIA, helping to transport bikes, load and unload bikes, and take PIAs participants out on the trail
I hope to continue to contribute to the adaptive sports community and when I am old enough I hope to intern with Vermont Adaptive to see what other doors it may open for me. I would highly recommend the apprenticeship program to other kids who are interested in getting involved in the adaptive sports community. It was a really great program and I hope more people are able to participate in the future, myself included.