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IMPACT


From Participant to Intern: Katie's Story

When I was two years old I suffered a stroke, which in turn left me paralyzed on my entire left side. I now have what is called Dystonia which is classified as a movement disorder. Living with a physical disability is very difficult and frustrating at times. It can be hard sometimes, especially socially. I have experienced social exclusion all my life. Whether it is involved with making friends, participating in sports, or something as simple as going shopping. However, this is where Challenge Aspen has changed my life. My first encounter with Challenge Aspen was about six years ago when I was a participant at one of their many summer camps. It was simply incredible. I made friends with other campers, volunteers, and staff immediately. It was a special bond because all the campers are different from the rest of the world, but at this camp only for people with disabilities we are for once the majority! This camp has given me so much. The people with Challenge Aspen have taught me that just because I’m different does not mean that I should be excluded in any way. Because of the way Challenge Aspen has designed their programs, many people with disabilities including myself have learned how to snow ski, whitewater raft, and even perform on stage. I never feel left out or that I cannot do these activities anymore. There are so many things that people never thought I could do and I’m doing them! Now that I am nineteen, I will be an intern for Challenge Aspen for one month this summer. I will learn the business side of the organization and receive training to understand the professional and community aspects of Challenge Aspen. In this way, I will understand all areas of this business and the fun stuff in which I have been experiencing for the last six years. I can’t wait to learn more about how they run this beautiful organization.

Contributed by Katie Andreis, McKinny, Texas

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Citation: Gaylord, V., Lieberman, L., Abery, B. & Lais, G. (Eds.). (2003). Impact: Feature Issue on Social Inclusion Through Recreation for Persons with Disabilities, 16(2) Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available from http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/162.

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