The national World T.E.A.M. Sports, a nonprofit organization that hosts athletic events like mountain climbing, rafting, and biking for disabled and able-bodied citizens, was recently awarded a grant by the Dralla Foundation to help fund the Adventure Team Challenge, to take place in a national park northwest of Washington, D.C. on Sept. 17.
The New Jersey-based nonprofit Dralla Foundation was founded by Peter Allard, whose company manufactures orthopedic devices that improve physical function and enhance the quality of life for individuals with physical challenges.
“World T.E.A.M. Sports is excited to bring our unique event back to the Washington, D.C. area,” said Van Brinson, World T.E.A.M. Sports’ CEO and president, in a press release. “This challenging event gives youth with disabilities an opportunity to participate with a team event and experience the outdoors almost in their own backyard. Partnering with Best Buddies also allows both organizations to continue pursuing their missions while making the most of our valuable resources.”
World T.E.A.M. Sports aims to change lives through sports. According to the organization, four things always happen at their events:
- Disabled participants build self-confidence and physical fitness;
- The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up physical activities;
- The disabled become a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see that disabled individuals can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination;
- The disabled and able-bodied participants learn to work as a team to overcome those challenges.
The event will be modeled after the nonprofit’s annual Adventure Team Challenge in western Colorado. The mid-Atlantic event will offer participants the opportunity to team up with able-bodied coaches and participate in challenging outdoors sports, like riding mountain bikes, hiking, and canoeing at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Since its inception in June 2011, the Dralla Foundation’s Adventure Team Challenge Washington D.C. has included 60 teens in three events, representing for many of them their first opportunity to paddle a canoe or ride a bike. Participants’ disabilities range from autism to Down syndrome, including Asperger syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Best Buddies Capital Region will select disabled and able-bodied athletes to compete in the event. Starting at the Carderock Recreation Area, the multi-mile Challenge will end at the Boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove. To be able to complete the three stages successfully, athletes must cooperate as a team, rather than working as individual athletes.
The full plan includes a one-mile hike on a Carderock trail, seven-mile bike ride along the C&O Canal gravel pathway, and a half-mile canoe ride along the historic canal. After finishing paddling their canoes, participants will gather at a celebration party with their parents, families, and friends for an awards ceremony.