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Andy Knight: Happy, Tired Children

January 23, 2014

By Andy Knight, President of the Waterville Valley Foundation

In case you haven’t figured it out…Andy Knight is very high on the Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports program.  His desire – and mine in reprinting his two posts today – is to encourage you to support the program by attending the Diamonds & Denim Gala this Saturday night, OR by making a financial contribution, OR by volunteering your time. Thank you ~ Jan

I hope you’ll pardon me for dipping back into the archives for once, but if it’s any comfort, I feel even more strongly than ever about the mission of Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports. Next Saturday night, January 25th, I hope you’ll consider joining the fun at the first annual Diamonds & Denim Gala at the Waterville Valley Conference Center. The evening begins with cocktails and a silent auction at 5pm, followed by dinner and a live auction with the inimitable Tom Gross. All proceeds go to support WVAS programs. Read on to see why I think it matters so much:

Over the last few years, I have admired the efforts of both the students and the staff of the Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports program. If you ski at Waterville Valley, you’ve certainly seen them, too: instructors in royal blue coats flanking — coaching, sometimes coaxing, often hurrying to keep up with — their students all over the mountain.

Adaptive clients run the gamut from young children on the autism spectrum, to young adults with cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome, to wounded warriors finding their way back from a war zone and reconnecting with life, though all too often a life profoundly changed. The volunteer instructors of Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports are carefully trained in techniques to support and coach people with all forms of special needs. The program is very fortunate to have the guidance of nationally recognized adaptive snow sports expert Kathy Chandler, and the gentle, calm — but amazingly effective — day-to-day management of operations director Cindy Powell. It is also incredibly lucky to have a body of stalwart volunteers who give freely of their time, energy, and devotion year after year, making the program possible.

As a parent of two “normal” teens, I can tell you few things are more satisfying than having happy, tired children. This theme resonates in so many conversations with the parents and loved ones of Adaptive clients as well. Through the program, their loved ones find a special kind of engagement that makes their hearts — and quite often, the students themselves — sing. When their days on the snow are done, they are tired but happy, deeply satisfied, and ready to take on the challenges of their lives refreshed.


What defines people with special needs is not their special needs, but rather that they are people: people with hopes, fears and dreams, and an undiminished capacity for enjoying life. Whether physically, developmentally, or emotionally challenged, Adaptive clients all find something special on the mountain; freedom, joy, independence, accomplishment, friendship.


This year’s Adaptive auction is themed “Diamonds & Denim” — so bring out your bling and join us at the Waterville Valley Conference Center starting at 5pm on January 25th, for cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a festive dinner and a live auction. Register online here: Diamonds & Denim Online Registration Page All proceeds go to support the WVAS programs throughout the year.

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

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