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‘Adaptive is our middle name’: Oregon Adaptive Sports is back on the slopes

'When the pandemic hit, we knew - we got this'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon Adaptive Sports has officially opened their doors for a 24th winter season -- and that's quite a feat, in and of itself.

COVID-19 has put a hold on nearly everything this year, but the Bend nonprofit is doing what they do best: adapting.

OAS Executive Director Pat Addabbo said they had confidence from the beginning.

"Adaptive, literally is our middle name," Addabbo said Tuesday. "When the pandemic hit, we knew -- we got this."

OAS provides access to outdoor activities for those with disabilities, so they viewed the complications of the pandemic as just another problem to be solved.

In a time of economic hardship, they're also making this season financially easier by giving out more scholarships than ever before.

"We know that, with the ongoing effects of the pandemic and unemployment, that people are having a tough time just making ends meet," Addabbo said. "We not only wanted to remove the physical barriers to the outdoors, but the financial barriers."

Addabbo said one of the scholarship programs will be geared toward youth with disabilities who are remote learning.

One of the athletes excited to return to the slopes is 14-year-old Ken Kumlin, who has been a part of the program since he was just 8 years old.

Born with cerebral palsy, the nerves that affect his motor skills have been compromised, but that never stopped Kumlin from learning how to ski.

"Most of my classmates don't ski, so I get to kind of brag about having the opportunity to go to Mt. Bachelor," Kumlin said.

Kumlin's father, Rocky, is just thankful that his son has another opportunity to enjoy what he loves.

"It's been a fun progression, to see him go from just a little kid who was kind of scared to taking his own solo run," he said.

And that type of independence, in a time where distancing has become the norm, is what OAS Education & Training Manager Melodie Buell said this season is all about.

"How do we promote independence so we can minimize touch?" Buell said. "We want to be offering opportunities for skill acquisition that are long- term and can service someone for the rest of their lives."

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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