November is an important month for Green Mountain Adaptive Sports. It is a month of reflection, analysis, and most importantly it is a month of fundraising so we can support our programs, events, and training in the year to come.
Many still confuse GMAS with larger programs in the state of Vermont. Apart from our Mission which is similar to most adaptive programs, just about everything about GMAS is different from all other Vermont Adaptive Sports Programs.
We thought this could be a good time to share the differences that make us unique and reinforce why you should consider making a donation to GMAS this year.
100% Volunteer Run Organization
Compared to other adaptive programs that have paid staff to run the organization, GMAS is 100% volunteer run. We rely on the work and contributions of members of our Board of Directors and other GMAS Committee members to manage our programs, fundraisers, events, marketing, liaisons with our sports partners, finances, and everything else that it takes to run an adaptive organization.
78% of the money we raise directly supports our athletes
When you donate to GMAS, the funds directly support the athletes. We keep our operating costs at a minimum so that we can offer more recreation opportunities to Vermonters applying to participate in our programs and events,
We Partner with Organizations and Businesses
GMAS works with partner organizations that are responsible for delivering adaptive lessons. For example, our Ski and Ride scholarship recipients receive their lessons from certified instructors from the Stowe Ski and Ride School. Apart from their regular training, the adaptive coaches also follow extensive training to work with our athletes and get paid for their services. The same goes for our Indoor Rock Climbing Program at Metro Rocks, our Kayaking program at the Waterbury Reservoir, the Swim Program at the YMCA in Burlington and The Swimming Hole in Stowe, and the Nordic Ski Program at Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Trained Professionals vs Volunteer Run Programs
Part of GMAS’s Mission is to provide coaches training to our partner organizations so that as professionals, they can maintain, and expand their knowledge and expertise in their field, and acquire the necessary skills and tools to work with people with disabilities. When this model is well managed, the coaches feel confident and supported, and as a result, the athletes get the best coaching available. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.
Grow Sports Programs on Demand
Our model allows GMAS to easily grow our program offerings, and adapt on demand. Since we own very little adaptive equipment and have no need for large expensive space to store and maintain gear, we can use our funds to support athletes’ participation in the sports and clinics that fit their needs and demands. If a new sport becomes popular, we can pivot, find additional new partners, build and offer coaches’ training, and create new scholarships for our athletes. We can also easily fund an athlete to go waterski at Squam Lake in New Hampshire with another adaptive program for example, or provide funding to attend an Annual Adaptive Rock Climbing clinic. We are flexible!
Six Adaptive Programs and Counting
GMAS presently offers six programs and awarded 81 scholarships in 2023. Ski and Ride is our largest program with 25-30 scholarship recipients annually. Each scholarship is 6-8 one-on-one lessons, or an adaptive ski pass. Twenty-two scholarships were awarded in the Kayaking Program which is held in collaboration with Cathy Webster of NDAA. This program saw the most returning participants and the most progress. Our fastest growing program at this time is the Movement Classes at Elevate in Stowe, closely followed by Indoor Rock Climbing at Metro Rocks in Essex, Vt. We also hope to be able to use the facilities at Stowe Rocks in 2024. Our Swim and Nordic ski programs continue to grow and evolve, and we are excited to see what 2024 brings.
Largest Adaptive Event in the East
The Stowe Monoski Camp, hosted by GMAS annually, is by far the largest event of its kind in the East. Since we have little equipment, and no staff, the event is a collaboration with many adaptive programs and organizations who travel to Stowe annually to offer lessons, volunteer, and provide adaptive equipment to all participants. GMAS provides the facilities and gets everyone together annually for an amazing day of learning, sharing, and networking at Stowe Mountain Resort.
Make a donation to support GMAS
We work hard, and we are proud to be able to support so many individuals and families in our area. Please consider making an annual donation in the amount that suits your budget. Know that it will be put to good use, and create opportunities that currently do not exist in our schools and municipalities.