WINDHAM, N.Y. – The Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) hosted its fourth and final scheduled Adaptive Skateboard Camp of the summer on Saturday at the Tannersville Skatepark at Rip Van Winkle Lake Park.
Professional Skateboarder Johnny O’Connor, a Windham native, led the team of skateboard coaches the ASF brought in to help teach individuals with disabilities how to skateboard. He has been the head skateboard coach for ASF since the first skateboard camp in 2021.
“As we continue to grow the program and see the students’ progress, my experience teaching keeps getting better and better,” O’Connor said. “Seeing the students return and take initiative by grabbing their boards and skating, that shows that we’ve accomplished something. We’ve all become a group of friends that help each other and support each other. It’s a great community to be a part of.”
The ASF began its Summer Adaptive Skateboard Program three years ago when ASF student Zachary Elder suggested the organization add skateboarding to its list of outdoor activities. The ASF challenged Zachary to find other students and volunteers that would be interested in participating in such a program. A couple of weeks later, Zachary came back with a list of students and volunteers and the rest is history.
“I wanted ASF to have a skateboarding program because I saw it in the summer olympics and I thought ‘if skateboarding is in the Olympics, then why not bring it to the Adaptive Sports Foundation?’,” Elder said. “The program has grown a lot in the last couple of years. We’re bringing in more people with disabilities and more pro-level instructors to give the students an opportunity to learn how to skate for the first time.”
The ASF hosted four Adaptive Skateboard Camps throughout the summer of 2023, and 13 different students participated in at least one camp.
I’m looking forward to continuing the program and watching it grow,” O’Connor said with a smile. “We have the volunteers and we can handle more students. I’m sure there are people out there who aren’t too far away that would love to be a part of this. We’d be glad to have them join us.”
The Adaptive Sports Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides profound and life changing experiences for children and adults with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses through outdoor physical activity, education, support and community. If you’d like to help support the ASF’s mission of “empowering lives through adaptive sports”, please click here.