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December 11, 2020 | Telling Stories, Volunteer
By Iain Kimpton, high school student and Vermont Adaptive volunteer
Service, one of the greatest things a person can do in their life to give back to their community. I never understood why service was so important to people when I was younger. Now after giving back, it makes sense why it brings people so much joy and happiness that they commit their lives to help others.
I started doing community service at around the age of thirteen. Every weekend in the winter my family and I would go up to a ski resort called Sugarbush to ski for the weekend, I would do lessons in the Ski School, while my dad would teach in the adaptive skiing program known as Vermont adaptive (Vermont Adaptive teaches people of all ages who have any type of disability how to ski). After I aged out of the skiing lessons I questioned my Dad about Vermont Adaptive, what it entailed, how to teach, and if maybe I could do it. He was hesitant but said yes, that very next day I signed up for the program and began my training the following winter.
At the start, it was very slow and grueling as I did not do much actual teaching. I started as what is called a shadow, I just sat at the back of the lesson making sure no skiers would ski straight through our lesson, I would also aid in the use of equipment. This is because Vermont Adaptive teaches adaptive athletes with all types of disabilities, some of these impairments require special equipment for them to be able to ski. So during the lesson as a shadow, I would carry equipment or help load it onto the lift. As time went on I eventually graduated to becoming an assistant instructor. This allowed me to teach and converse with the students and show me my true passion, teaching. Because of my already high level of skiing and being a shadow, I soon graduated to becoming a lead instructor. This meant that I would work directly with the student, organize the lesson plan, and try to improve the students skiing ability while also trying to have a fun experience to make sure they return. At this point, I was fifteen years old and teaching students that were around my age and younger. Most of my students had a mental disability such as being on the autism spectrum, PTSD, or EBD (Emotional and behavioral disability).
After teaching for three years one of my colleagues, Norm Staunton, approached me to ask if I would like to become PSIA (Professional Ski Instructor of America) certified, I accepted the offer even though I would have to go through lots of studying and training to do so, however; it would be a great achievement and would help me on my skiing instructing path. That idea strove me to work harder and harder, I studied for days, practiced my skiing, and continued to teach all through my vacations as it was the best form of studying. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus, I was not able to do the test but once they start back up again I am the first one on the list to be certified. And even with this unfortunate setback I love teaching and helping others to learn how to ski and have a great time skiing. And so for forty days a year seven and a half hour days for three years I have been volunteering with Vermont Adaptive, which is why I understand why people find service to the community so wonderful and enjoyable.