Isn’t it exciting to do things out of the ordinary? It’s especially fun when it’s something you’ve never done before, and something that pushes the limits of what you’ve ever thought you could. Seniors at Tennessee School for the Blind recently returned from just such an experience. The Seniors have had fun slipping, sliding, and traveling down ski slopes far away from Nashville. Six students and three chaperones participate in TSB’s senior ski trip with Challenge Aspen.
Challenge Aspen, according to their website, provides “opportunities for individuals and groups with cognitive and/or physical disabilities” an “itinerary of indoor and outdoor activities that are sure to engage everyone.” The concept of teaching blind people to ski came to Houston Cowan in 1991.
Today the organization hosts more than 400 participants a year involving them in a wide variety of outdoor activities. “This trip is a great opportunity for our students to have many new experiences,” said Julia Hedrick, TSB’s trip coordinator. “They always come back with excitement and many great memories.”
Students participating in this years trip were: Taylor Grenier, Nathen Hurst, Marcus Johnson, Esperanza Monzalvo, Abigail Pace, and Cody Spicer. TSB staff members Julia Hedrick, Kari Harold, and Aaron Lockhart were the fearless chaperones for the exciting adventure.
The trip started on the morning of December 9th. A nine o'clock airline departure had the crew anxiously anticipating the three hour trip from Nashville’s International Airport. After arriving in Denver the students took a shuttle bus to Aspen before arriving at Snowmass Village. They spent the next three days they became familiar with and learned to trust the ski instructors from Challenge Aspen. Joining the instructors were interns and other volunteers.
In addition to skiing, students were given the opportunity to participate in ice skating, sledding, swimming in an outdoor heated pool, and soaking in a hot spring. They also enjoyed an evening of bowling with the Challenge Aspen interns, souvenir shopping, and a farewell dinner with the Challenge Aspen group.
Helping to underwrite the trip, the students sold APH print/braille calendars to raise funds, and they did a great job! To date, approximately 170 calendars have been sold.