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By Dominique Gatto
At Vermont Adaptive it takes all hands-on deck, all the time. Our year-round programming has continued to succeed for more than 30 years thanks to dedication of more than 400 highly trained volunteer instructors.
Monica Marois started volunteering in her mid-20s and is now is going into her fifth season as a volunteer instructor. While she lives in Boston working at a financial services company, she still finds plenty of time to get outside whenever she gets the chance. Whether it be hitting the slopes in Vermont, rowing crew along the Charles River, or hiking with her fiancé and Golden Retriever, Hadley, Marois loves to get outside and play. And it’s actually how she first caught wind of Vermont Adaptive.
“I had seen some adaptive skiing programs where I am from in upstate New York and always thought it was interesting. I started spending my time in the Killington area and would pop over to Pico and saw that there was a program, so I thought that I would get involved,” said Marois.
Although she lives a busy lifestyle in the city, Marois still tries to spend as many winter weekends in the Killington/Pico area as she can, getting 3-5 full volunteer days in each winter season along with a day of off-snow training in November and two days of on-snow training in December prior to the start of Vermont Adaptive’s season.
One of her favorite weekends to volunteer is the United States Association of Blind Athletes Winter Festival. She recalls one memory where she spent all day with an athlete who was shy, and she wasn’t quite sure that the athlete was having fun.
“We were goofing around and she was a good skier, and I thought we were having a lot of fun together, but she was so shy that I was having a hard time getting feedback to whether or not she enjoyed herself,” she said. “A couple days later she actually called me, and she thanked me for going skiing with her and telling me that she had the best day ever. So it was great to get some good feedback from somebody that was that shy.”
When the snow melts, Marois also donates her time helping out with the Long Trail Century Ride to benefit Vermont Adaptive in June and represents Vermont Adaptive in our booth at the Boston Ski & Snowboard Expo in November. In the future, she hopes to be even more involved during the summers, helping instruct activities such as mountain biking, kayaking and hiking.
“It’s a great group of people, and I love all of the volunteers and the staff and look forward to getting out this summer a little bit more since I haven’t been able to do that,”