National Sports Center for Disabled adapts to new season
Organization embraces new branding, logo while holding true to its original mission
The reopening of Winter Park Resort came complete last week with the return of the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s on-mountain programming.
The NSCD is a beloved local nonprofit that has existed for five decades as one of the world’s premiere organizations for adaptive sports, not just skiing and snowboarding. In addition to offering numerous opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy sports, the NSCD also fields a robust, highly decorated competition program for disabled athletes.
After pausing on-mountain programming in March, the NSCD is back at it again, although the nonprofit has adapted some new branding and a logo to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“What I love about our new brand is there’s nothing new about it,” said Kim Easton, NSCD president and CEO. “It really is just stating what we’ve always been and it still creates that huge vision and direction for us.”
Obviously, COVID-19 has had quite the effect on the nonprofit, which shut down programming last spring with the governor’s orders affecting all Colorado ski resorts. The NSCD managed some virtual programming over the spring and summer months to keep people connected, but it had not run any programs at Winter Park Resort since the closure.
In Denver, the NSCD got back to some in-person programming in August, and many people affiliated with the organization were thrilled for its return, even though the programs looked and felt much different from previous years.
Opening day for the NSCD at Winter Park Resort was on Saturday.
“Obviously, our capacity, the number of lessons that we’re available to teach is much lower than they have been in the past,” Easton said, explaining how they are only teaching half-day lessons to ensure staggered starts throughout the day and keep people from bunching up inside while they get their gear on.
“It’s interesting because skiing, and really any outdoor adventure activity, is actually a pretty COVID-friendly concept once you’re outside doing it,” Easton continued. “But with our clients and their need for adaptive equipment, it’s just that first part of the day that we really have to have a lot of COVID protocols in place and have to do things a little differently.”
Perhaps it’s the prefect task for the nonprofit, though.
Adapting to challenges is kind of what the NSCD does, and the latest round of adaptations dovetail nicely with the nonprofit’s new logo and branding, which only reinforce what the NSCD has been doing for the last 50 years — rethinking ability.
“It really is poignant right now because everything we’re doing is rethinking how we’re able to provide programming,” Easton said. “We’re rethinking how to keep people safe. We’re rethinking what kinds of sports and activities we can do in a pandemic.”
Just as important is the NSCD’s mission of helping everyone else rethink what people with disabilities can do. Easton likened it to someone seeing a skier with one leg and outriggers at Winter Park and immediately thinking, “Wow, that skier’s abilities are amazing.”
It’s true, there are fears at the NSCD that rising infections could lead to another closure, force contingency plans into action or make the nonprofit enlist backup budgeting strategies to make ends meet.
But what hasn’t changed over 50 years at the NSCD isn’t going to change now, vowed Easton, who believes it’s their “absolute 100% mission” to keep moving forward in some format, even during a pandemic.
“We’ve been an organization who has been at the forefront of innovation in adaptability and individualization for 50 years, so you know, it’s not outside the wheelhouse for us,” she said.
The NSCD’s credo is: Everybody is able and anything is possible. According to Easton, that applies not only to the NSCD as an organization, but how everyone at the NSCD feels about its programming, its many participants and its competition athletes.
For more about the National Sports Center for the Disabled, http://www.nscd.org.
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