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Q&A with the Staff – Kelly Walsh, Program Coordinator

November 7, 2017 | Staff

WHY ARE YOU HERE?
I cherish outdoor recreation, and what it does for my physical and mental health is super helpful. I want everyone to be able to experience that and feel the benefit of it regardless of their abilities.

HOW DID YOU GET HERE? HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS?
It all started in the 6th grade. A family friend had a therapeutic horseback riding farm, and I volunteered. I helped with the horses and immediately fell in love with working with people with disabilities. I volunteered all through high school and college. In college, I completed an internship with Vermont Adaptive and realized this is what I wanted to do with my life because I loved it so much. My goal was to get more experience and gure out a path to get into adaptive sports. I majored in sports management at Rutgers University, continued to volunteer at various places including an adaptive sports organization in Israel. I graduated and became a special educator. When the Vermont Adaptive position opened up at Bolton Valley, I knew it would be a perfect fit.

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH ON THE JOB?
People say I’m constantly laughing. I guess everything makes me laugh—the successes and the failures. There’s always something to giggle about. The interns and athletes and their commentary make me laugh.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST WISH FOR THE ORGANIZATION?
To have a permanent home in Burlington. I see this program growing so much every day. If we had our own autonomous space I can see how much more we could grow and serve more athletes and serve them better. Ultimately, I want to be able to serve as many people as possible.

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM FOR ADAPTIVE SPORTS?
It’s really two-fold. On a smaller scale, I want adaptive sports nationwide—not just where there are mountains or where recreation is cherished. So that it’s the norm in every Park and Recreation system. On a larger scale, I want to see the level increase internationally—to grow awareness so people can see what recreation does for people with disabilities.

HOW DO YOU STRETCH YOUR LIMITS?
In life, it’s through physical activity—running, creating a challenge for myself. Every year I create a new challenge that stretches my limits. In work, I never really tell anyone no. If we’re going to do it then we’re going to make it work, and I stretch it that way.

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
I’m afraid of elevators. I’ve never been stuck in one but that’s my fear. I take the stairs. In work my fear is funding. I always want to make sure we have enough to do what we do for anyone regardless of a financial situation.

SKI OR SNOWBOARD?
Ski.

BIKE OR PADDLE?
Paddle.

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