By Petra Davenport ASF’s Deputy Director of Operations
I am amazed that a year has passed since I joined the Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF). For welcoming me with open arms, thank you to the ASF volunteers, supporters, staff, Board, and to all of those who have participated in their individual experiences. I am reminded almost daily that our mission to Empower Lives Through Adaptive Sports is not just our organization’s mission, but is a goal shared by all of us as we work together.
There were a few interviews, panels, in quick succession. After the first interview, I dropped my phone in water. Luckily, I saw a text inviting me to a second meeting, prior to my phone dying forever. During each interview, my husband Ben led the kids, in full ski gear on their way to the 6-pack, past the windows of the Club in full view of the interview panel. A reminder to me of my focus on family, community and compliance. This focus continues.
The First Day
I woke up with the usual first-day angst. Ben had already left for work an hour earlier. My work anxiety was quickly replaced by our older daughter’s announcement that she thought she had a tick in her hair. I downplayed it until I saw the beast, engorged, just behind her right ear. Within minutes, I made the requisite frantic call to Ben, tweezed out the tick, bagged it, took a photo, and shooed her onto the school bus. A few more minutes passed and the new babysitter arrived; her first day, my first day. There was only time to savor a few deep breaths during the mile and a half commute to ASF.
Working at ASF
The year has been a whirlwind, as most are. Our team’s accomplishments have been many. Starting with our students, we initiated an enhanced online lesson booking process. For our volunteer instructors we moved the onboarding process completely online and offered iPads for post-lesson student evaluations. We also began accepting credit cards for lunch payments. ASF’s technology upgrades will continue as we pulse our community and assess its needs. Finally, our donors, grantors, and our continued prudent fiscal management have ensured that we have empowered many lives; that we have worked together to put more smiles on more faces.
Of course, we faced many challenges, notably the not-so-snowy ski season and its abrupt ending. Before the interruption, ASF remained a safe place. A second home to many in both summer and winter. I met many families this year. I also reconnected with many affiliated with the Windham Race Factory. Families of students, of volunteers and of the ASF Staff and Board members. I spent a lot of time observing, reading, listening, and learning. There was a lot to learn from the past and more to learn in the future – we have to keep looking and moving forward with adaptations.
Fun fact: many of us have black labs.
Winter Cut Short – No Long Good-Byes – Working from Home
It was tough to decide to end the winter season so abruptly and cancel the last hurrah. In hindsight, we can all agree it was the correct one. There are a lot of people I had to say good-bye to via calls and emails instead of handshakes and hugs. I am sorry for that and have tried to be in “touch” remotely. Fortunately, the transition to remote work was seamless for me. I returned to the home office we created six and a half years ago after our first daughter was born and my law firm was very accommodating of my transition to motherhood.
In this time, we have be able to focus on launching online content through social media and our website (check out ASFToday!), adopting a Sports Protection Policy, moving our data to the cloud, and more preparation for next winter. This week, the ASF secured funding through the SBA to help bridge a budget deficit that was augmented by the postponement of two early summer fundraising events.
What’s Next? (Windham folks, you see what I did there?)
What is actually next for us, for ASF, for Windham? That depends on several factors. Total lawyer answer. I know, but it does. It depends on what the virus does to the economy and to our ability to host social gatherings safely. The answer in my heart is I HOPE WE MOVE FORWARD BIGGER AND BETTER! We have summer programming planned to begin July 4th weekend! Of course, we are also planning for alternatives to in-person programming this summer and beyond. I am optimistic and look forward to seeing everyone bringing their smiles, volunteer hours and donations to this wonderful organization.
A large part of what of all we try to impart to our ASF students is hope and confidence. Here’s to hoping we will all be together again soon. Cheers to another year!
TLDR: ASF has had me for a year, and I love it!