Originally Posted by Dan5252
Has anybody on here volunteered for the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park? I came really close to volunteering there last year but had just moved to Colorado and didn't really have the time. I'm seriously thinking about volunteering there this year but wanted some feedback from somebody who had volunteered there before before I make the commitment. Thanks in advance.
I volunteered with NSCD for 12 years. I now live in Canada and have not been involved with NSCD for several years, other than occasional e-mail to/from Beth. The rules may have changed since I was last involved with it.
Many people find that the required commitment is considerable. Your first year, you must participate in at least 6 full-day clinics, and you must also teach for 10 full days. You will be in a regularly scheduled program, so you will
have a student. No free days.
For many more-or-less "average" skiers, 16 days might be their whole season. I had a habit of being up at Winter Park 60 days or more per season (my last few years, I also taught in the regular adult ski school), but for many, a 16 day commitment may not leave much time for free skiing.
This commitment gets you a season pass to Winter Park. It is not, however, a "regular" season pass. In particular, it doesn't work at Copper Mountain like most WP season passes.
You don't do this for the pass. You do it for the people you work with. You do it because you want to contribute. If you just want a pass, go buy one. They're very cheap in Colorado.
Remember, also, that once you're committed, you have to go. You don't get to stay home if you or someone in your family doesn't feel like going skiing today.
Although NSCD works with many disabilities, and asks you your preferences, you can absolutely count on working with both children and adults with developmental disabilities. They always need people for this. Initially, the disabilities involved might be pretty minor. If you stick with it, and get to be pretty good, you will inevitably spend some time with some folks with severe developmental issues. If this turns you off, don't volunteer. Period.
As icanseeformiles said, another major benefit is training. The basic NSCD training will get you started. You'll probably discover that you don't really know how to do a wedge after all, even though you thought you did. If you're serious about improving, however, join PSIA and start working on certification. The regular ski school has an aggressive training program that involves clinics at 8:00 a.m. almost every day of the week. Once you've joined PSIA, speak to Jenn Metz or one of the other trainers and get yourself cleared to attend. Then sign up downstairs and be there ready to rock at 8:00. They don't stand around at the bottom waiting for latecomers. Your skiing will be disassembled and rebuilt. You will be critiqued, endlessly and sometimes brutally. Don't sign up for anything you can't attend.
Winter Park has some of the top people in the Rocky Mountain Division of PSIA. If you progress far enough, at some point you may attend a PSIA clinic being given at Steamboat or Loveland or Vail and you'll realize you're hearing stuff you first heard at Winter Park two years earlier.
If that doesn't sound like something you want to do, that's fine, too. NSCD has plenty of volunteers who are terminal intermediate skiers, and they need every one of them.
Like any organization, NSCD has its warts. Some personalities are more difficult than others, and organization in the midst of chaos is always a challenge. Take it in stride. Some days will go extremely well; others will be extremely difficult.
Your job is to provide a great experience for others, some of whom don't get very many great experiences. It can be a great experience for you, too.