Friends of The Yellow House Community (YHC) in Middlebury, Vt. successfully completed their awarded scholarships to participate in the Green Mountain Adaptive Sports (GMAS) Indoor Rock Climbing Program at Metro Rocks in Essex Junction, Vt.
GMAS is always looking to partner up with new facilities and individuals with mental or physical disabilities, and we found a natural fit with The Yellow House Community. “The group is so fun and active, we are grateful that they reached out and that we were in a position to award them scholarships to participate in a new sport,” comments Pascale Savard, VP of the GMAS Board.
The Yellow House Community (YHC) is an intentional residential community located in Middlebury, Vermont. YHC provides adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with safe, residential family households, meaningful vocation, and support to continue developing skills, interests, and relationships.
YHC was founded in 2019 by two families planning for the future of their adult children with disabilities. YHC has become an opportunity to design a future for young adults that is full of love, joy, and purpose and that extends beyond what families can offer in their homes.
YHC currently has five residents (referred to as “Friends”) living in two homes on the YHC campus. Together at YHC, Friends and staff collaborate to run the household and organize events that further enrich their lives. Yellow House provides Friends with structured, purposeful days through household management, industry, gardening, cooking, and social and recreational opportunities both within YHC and the broader Middlebury and Vermont community.
The group is very active and enjoys all that Vermont has to offer. Along with their support team, they go on weekly hikes, swim in the beautiful lakes of Vermont, and participate in a large variety of Special Olympic sporting events.
A Perfect Fit
“Our experience with GMAS was wonderful, explains Lis Duckworth, Program Director at The Yellow House Community. “They responded quickly and enthusiastically about having our Friends participate in rock climbing, and we signed on for 6 weekly trips to Metro Rocks in Essex Junction.”
Lis continues, “Julia and Luke at Metro Rocks were so well trained and prepared to work with a variety of disabilities. Our Friends have communication and physical challenges, and Luke and Julia were patient, understanding, and positive! They were able to meet each Friend at their level and challenge them to grow over the six-week program. They built great relationships with our Friends and took the time to learn about their interests.”
Building a Solid Foundation
GMAS has been developing and building a solid base for the Adaptive Indoor Rock Climbing program for a couple of years. Last October, GMAS hosted an Adaptive Indoor Rock Climbing Workshop for coaches, therapists, educators, and anyone interested in instructing, or volunteering with athletes with disabilities.
The workshop was a huge success and provided instruction on how to create a program designed to include participants of all abilities and expose coaches to a different way of thinking when it comes to inclusion and accessibility.
“It was meaningful for our Friends to have coaches that helped them to improve in such a supportive and inclusive environment. Each Friend grew their confidence and learned new skills. It was amazing to watch the growth! For example, one Friend was nervous about heights at the beginning of our sessions and was completely independent on the high ropes course by the end of six weeks,” adds Lis.
GMAS is looking forward to having Friends of The Yellow House Community apply for more athlete scholarships in the near future. “We plan on returning to Metro Rocks in the fall and hope to make rock climbing a consistent part of our programming at YHC. We are so appreciative of the support of GMAS to help make this opportunity possible for our Friends and we look forward to further collaboration with them,” concludes Lis.
To find out more, to apply for a scholarship, to donate, or to get involved with Green Mountain Adaptive Sports, visit the webpage at https://greenmtnadaptive.org/.
To learn more about the Yellow House Community, you can watch our short film, “Boom and Whoa: The Making of a Community within a Community.” It can be found here: www.yellowhousecommunity.com.