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October 3, 2017 | Telling Stories, Volunteer
Michael Taylor, 17, and his brother, Ryan, 15, have a pretty cool mom and one of her biggest mantras to her sons has stuck. Life is all about finding your passion and sharing your passion, she would say. That phrase and variations of it were ingrained in the minds of these two Holliston, Mass. students from a young age. “In this case, skiing is our passion,” said Ryan, “and sharing that same enjoyment that we get out of it.”
Michael and Ryan began volunteering with Vermont Adaptive at a young age (now, junior volunteers must be at least 16-years-old to volunteer) when their dad, David, was volunteering, watching and learning. “I saw the program work in the old space here at Pico and also my fifth-grade teacher had a daughter who was a Paralympian,” Michael said. “I was a shadow, but I still got the same feeling of helping people. Now I get to do more. I’m a strong skier and a stronger person. Tom often pairs us up with kids our age, not so much for instruction but more for just skiing around, laughing and talking on the chair lift.”
For Ryan, he decided to volunteer, well, because his older brother was doing it and it looked fun. “Now I feel I’m helping more and that’s really fun, too,” Ryan said.
Both boys talk about their volunteering with Vermont Adaptive in school and to their friends, too, explaining how they help different people, which helps raise aware- ness that everything’s obtainable and nothing’s impossible. “Once the kids are out there sometimes they start to lose focus,” Michael said. “After two runs on Bonanza they get tired and fall on the snow so we just make snow angels or come in to the quiet room to take a break and regain focus. The most challenging part is coming in for lunch after a great morning and no one wants to stop… but we all get hungry after a while!”
Being on a bi-ski lesson is Ryan’s favorite type of lesson. “It’s so cool that anyone can really do anything and being paralyzed won’t stop them.” But both boys really enjoy any type of lesson they’re given. “We’re wherever Tom needs us—once you’re on the mountain it all blends together.”
Vermont Adaptive relies on more than 400 highly trained volunteer instructors for lessons and outings—volunteers like Michael and Ryan—who are simply looking to share their passion for sports with others.
“Vermont Adaptive is an organization that helps people with disabilities learn to ski and enjoy the mountain, having a great time while staying safe and having fun,” said Michael. “Nothing is impossible here.”
Volunteer orientation begins in November. For a complete listing of dates, information and a volunteer application, visit our volunteer page.