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Adaptive Sports Association kicks off summer with volunteer training

For those who want to combine a love of the outdoors with helping others, the Adaptive Sports Association (ASA) has a deal for you. Along with feeling good about lending a helping hand, volunteers also get some free trips and discounts at local businesses.

ASA is a non-profit sports and recreation outfitter based in Durango that serves people with disabilities. The association is hosting summer program volunteer trainings for the next two weeks for people who want to help during daytrips throughout the region.  Volunteers can assist with whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, camping, rock climbing, and more. Trainings are free, and no prior experience is necessary.

“It really builds a sense of community,” Klancy Nixon, the program director at Adaptive Sports, said of volunteering for the non-profit. “Our first priority is safety, followed by having fun and learning. Everyone on our trips is having fun, and that includes our volunteers.”

Other benefits for volunteers is getting to explore the outdoors alongside program participants, while building life-changing friendships.

Learning the skills and techniques in the courses is of interest to some volunteers, Nixon said, while some might not have access to a raft, or they want to get more exercise or spend more time outside.

“There’s a lot of wonderful pluses for clients and volunteers alike,” she said.

Volunteer canoe and kayak trainings are on Thursday, May 23 and May 30. Rafting trainings are Tuesday, May 28 and Friday, May 31. Cycling trainings are on Friday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 29. Interested volunteers should call (970) 259-0374, visit asadurango.com, or email program@asadurango.com to RSVP and to obtain more information.

Adaptive Sports Association's programs help to enrich and transform the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation. By working with students to overcome physical and cognitive challenges in a safe, supportive environment, ASA staff and volunteers help clients explore possibilities.

Adaptive Sports is celebrating its 35th year and has offered summer programs since 1998.

Individuals, small businesses, corporations and civic group support help the association serve more than 450 individuals annually, with the help of almost 280 volunteers. State-of-the-art equipment is used to provide participants with a safe experience that is also invigorating.


Adaptive Sports offers the following summer programs:

  • Camping, with one- or two-night trips throughout the summer season.
  • Cycling, with two-hour trips around the campus at Fort Lewis College. Since starting the program in 2008, ASA staff and volunteers help clients use specially-adapted trikes, hand cycles, tandems and typical two-wheeled bikes. Other day programs including a climbing trip, water skiing day, fly fishing, and some overnight camping trips.
  • Canoeing and kayaking. This year’s first trip on the water is on Lake Nighthorse. The group worked with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the City of Durango to get their outfitting permit on the reservoir, and the staff is looking forward to exploring the new reservoir, along with being able to offer trips so close to Durango. Canoe and kayak trips take place at Lemon Reservoir, Electra Lake, Haviland Lake, Vallecito Reservoir, and Little and Big Molas Lakes.

“We get to go to a lot of neat places,” Nixon noted. Rafting trips often cover a seven-mile section of the Animas River below the whitewater, which has abundant wildlife and incredible sightings of the area’s birds.

Rafting on the Animas River features half-day rafting trips throughout most of the summer season, depending on the flows of the river. Prices for participants range from $25 to $45 per activity, with scholarships available if needed.

More information about trips and volunteering is available at asadurango.com or on the 360Durango site at https://www.360durango.com/Nonprofit/Athletics/adaptivesports.html.


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