By Richard Rhinehart
Washington, DC, June 24, 2013 – A team of developmentally disabled teens are ready to undertake a series of outdoor sporting challenges this August 9 at the second Adventure Team Challenge – Washington DC from World T.E.A.M. Sports.
Hosted by the national non-profit on the banks of the scenic Potomac River in Washington and Maryland, the sporting event brings together 12 to 15 disabled teenagers with a group of able-bodied college volunteers at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Partnering with the Washington Chapter of Dreams for Kids and Push America, World T.E.A.M. Sports will challenge the teens with stages ranging from hiking to canoeing to bicycling. For many of these young participants, this will be the first time that they have ventured off pavement into a park, ride a bicycle or float on water. The experience for the teen participants, their parents and the volunteers is unforgettable.
“World T.E.A.M. Sports and the volunteers poured on buckets of encouragement to all of the participating children,” said Bonnie Linen-Carroll, whose son Jerry participated in the inaugural August, 2011 Challenge. “They were very attentive to each and every child that came with their own disability issues. They were the most caring, supportive, attentive group of people you will ever want to send your child with on a challenge.”
Patterned after the organization’s Adventure TEAM Challenge in western Colorado, featuring inclusive teams of disabled and able-bodied athletes, the Teen Challenge offers excitement for the determined disabled teens. Riding dirt and rock trails on mountain bikes, hiking along narrow pathways and paddling through the waters of the canal provides the teens an opportunity to see how active sports can change their lives.
Providing life-changing experiences is important to the Holbrook, New York-based World T.E.A.M. Sports, founded by business executive James Benson in honor of a high school friendship he had with a disabled youth. “Ricky Prine was a very bright young man,” Benson recalled at a 2007 conference. “He was as disabled as you possibly could be physically, but he was as alive as you possibly could be – mentally and emotionally.” Despite his personal challenges, Prine still managed to be engaged in life.
Through World T.E.A.M. Sports, disabled individuals have been encouraged through active sporting experiences to live life to its fullest. For 20 years, the organization has created numerous events offering sporting opportunities for children and teens with disabilities. In addition to the Adventure Team Challenge – Washington DC, the organization also is assisting with the Adventure Team Challenge at Frost Valley, New York September 19-22, a similar teen adventure, with corporate sponsor American Portfolios. In recent years, the organization has partnered with other non-profit organizations to create and manage inclusive youth events in Washington and Boston. In 2011, the first Adventure Team Challenge – Washington DC was followed by the Soccer Teen Challenge at Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play at D.C.’s Ellipse with other partner organizations. With Boston’s Ultimate Sports Program, World T.E.A.M. Sports annually assists with sporting events such as the Boston Celtics Experience.
For parents like Linen-Carroll, who watched her son ride a bicycle for the first time and hike on a trail in 2011, she is convinced the Team Challenge – Washington DC is worthwhile. “Parents, if you believe your child can participate, send them on an adventure with World T.E.A.M. Sports – they will prove to your child or children that they can!”
Washington’s Bikes to Borrow and the Boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove will be providing bicycles and canoes for the Challenge. Subway® of the Bethesda Naval Hospital is sponsoring lunches for the participants and volunteers. Complimentary fruit baskets will be provided by Edible Arrangements®.
Richard Rhinehart serves as Director of Communications for World T.E.A.M. Sports.