Adaptive Ski program discussed at Golden K meeting

Dr. Paul Jacobs Photo From left are Sharon Scholke, Golden K chairwoman for April, with Denise DeLano of the Moving Mountains Adaptive Ski Program. The sled in front of them is the Bi-Ski used for those who cannot stand.


For The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN — Shedding the layers of winter clothing felt good. Heading out to the Monday morning meeting of the Golden K with a light jacket makes one wonder is it OK or should one take along a warmer coat just in case. Well, Columbus took a chance and so did the seniors making their way to the First Presbyterian Church, coming in the fellowship hall, full of newfound energy and many with no coat of any kind.

Lots of exciting chatter filled the room. It appeared everyone is more than ready for warmer weather. Flowers are popping up, birds are singing every morning and the Canada geese have made themselves known with a noisy flyover on their way north.

Sharon Scholke was chairwoman for April. Making the most of the merry mood, Alyce Dersinski, on piano, got members reaching for their books. Dersinski had a plan for these seniors today. As she and Orice Walters collaborated on songs, Walters donned her director’s hat and they introduced different songs to the group.

Agatha Cavaiani shared her Happy Dollars on behalf of her great-grandson, a member of the Cub Scout Pack 510 who won first place in the Pinewood Derby. Tom Bugni won the 50-50 drawing.

Denise DeLano was welcomed as the guest speaker. She brought her passion for the Moving Mountains Adaptive Ski Program –which she and her husband developed for individuals with special needs, from as young as 4 years old to adults — to life for the Golden Kers. It has taken many hours of planning, preparing, training and unbridled devotion to bring this program to fruition.

MMAP is a 100 percent volunteer program that has been self-sustaining financially to date. They host a golf outing in July that helps fund the necessary equipment. Interested golfers can register as an individual or as a team. They have a silent auction and have sponsors. With the co-operative effort from Pine Mountain they are able to have sessions locally. Pine Mountain staff, ski patrol and volunteers have enabled this program to bring families and friends together for a day of skiing they never before thought was possible. There are skis for adults, juniors, and X-large, sled with bi-ski attachment and helmets.

Safety is primary in training volunteers, chair-lift personnel and ski patrol people to be are aware of the skiers and their disabilities. The program provides alpine instruction enabling young and old alike the chance to enjoy the outdoors and engage in a winter sport.

The procedure to enter the program is extensive. Parents and students are well-informed of the program and goals instilled for each participant. There is always the paperwork and then the training sessions. It all comes together with a co-operative effort from parents, students, volunteers and Pine Mountain, which provides the area, a place to store equipment, work with the individuals.

After preparing student and family for the experience, qualified instructors begin slowly introducing the student to skiing, building their confidence to go to the full extent of their ability while always being kept under control, with safety most important.

Lessons are by appointment only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. All the required equipment, lift ticket and instructor time is included. Lessons are free to the student. There are discounts for families.

Many a happy physically and/or cognitively disabled individual have been able to enjoy a winter sport because of DeLano, her husband and an unknown number of volunteers dedicating their days to making dreams come true.

Another organization that works tirelessly to make others life a little bit better, is the Caring House. The Golden K meeting on Monday will have a representative from the Caring House.

The Golden Throats will sing Wednesday at Manor Care.