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By Cayla Hammaker, University of Vermont, Class of 2017
After having now spent a year interning with Vermont Adaptive, I am so thankful for the opportunities it has given me to develop my interpersonal skills, my instructional skills, for the network it has given me, and for appreciation it has given me for the joy recreational sports can bring every individual. Vermont Adaptive truly is a client-centered organization that cares most about empowering its athletes – something that I am reminded of every day I am with this group.
Every lesson I learned something new. Each athlete had different goals, different challenges. I learned from everybody I interacted with: the athletes, the volunteers, the parents, my co-interns, and my boss. Every individual had a different way of teaching, and no one method was better than the other. I had the chance to work with (but in reality, learn from) people of all ages and abilities – kids, adults, Veterans, etc.; my experience was only enriched by having the opportunity to interact with such a diverse array of athletes.
While I learned instructional skills, I also acquired valuable insights into running a successful program. I was fortunate to have a boss who is more passionate about her work than dogs are about peanut butter. I had the best co- interns – each who had different instructional styles and different backgrounds. I worked with volunteers whom had years more experience than I did, and came from diverse backgrounds – from physical therapists to teachers to sales representatives. From everybody, I gained a bit of insight into why this program is so successful, and how to make it continue to be so successful. Every day, I was lucky to go to work. One of my favorite sights was to come in from a morning lesson on a weekend, and see the “office” flooded with athletes and volunteers. I was constantly reminded of how lucky I was to be a part of a program so full of energy and passion.
This past year has honestly been one of the best years in terms of self-discovery for me. Thanks to this internship, I am now hoping to pursue a Master’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation post-graduation and am currently pursuing a position within the adaptive sports world. I am overwhelmed at the thought of my internship coming to a close, but am excited to transition into a volunteer role with Vermont Adaptive and to expand on my therapeutic recreation skills. The community built by Vermont Adaptive is absolutely amazing and one I hope continues to empower and inspire people as it does now.
Vermont Adaptive’s Intern Program is designed to provide opportunities to students interested in Adaptive Sports, Therapeutic Recreation, Adventure Recreation and Adventure Education to gain knowledge and professional experience in these growing fields. We also offer internships to those who are pursuing philanthropic careers in development, marketing and administration. Internships can either be seasonal or year-round, depending on the focus and discipline of the internship.
All interns must be in high school or college, have current first aid and CPR certification and the ability to commit to an entire season. Vermont Adaptive is looking for intern staff who are self-motivated, take initiative and have some experience working with people with disabilities and adventure recreation. It is helpful to have technical outdoor skills and the ability to work well with people. All interns have a strong sense of hard work, flexibility, a love for the outdoors, an open mind and a love for working with people.
Visit vermontadaptive.org, review the requirements and apply.