Events/News

Developmentally-Disabled Athletes Enjoy Adventure Team Challenge New York

By Richard Rhinehart
Claryville, New York, September 4, 2015 – For 16 developmentally-disabled athletes, national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports’ September 10-13 Adventure Team Challenge at New York’s 6,000-acre Frost Valley YMCA provides inspiring outdoor sporting activities ranging from fast-paced relays to water sports to bicycling to a climb of the Catskills’ highest mountain.

Welcome banner at 2014 Adventure Team Challenge.

Adventure Team Challenge New York banner at 2014 event. Photograph by Melissa Grappone.

Ranging in age from 12 to 39 years, the participating athletes will be teamed with experienced outdoor sports enthusiasts who offer valued assistance and direction during each stage of the Challenge. Many of these coaches have assisted in past Challenges, which have been hosted since 2010 at Frost Valley and at nearby Harris, New York. In the last five years, 100 athletes with disabilities have tried outdoor sports on land and water through the Challenges, many for the first time.

Created and directed by American Portfolios Financial Services Chairman Lon Dolber, the event’s management team involves dedicated staff members from the Holbrook brokerage and financial services company, and colleagues from the non-profit Center for Discovery in Harris. Richard Humleker, Vice President for Development at The Center, is a director of the event, which features adventure-seeking athletes from the organization’s residence homes.

Disabled athletes at the opening of the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge New York.

Athletes attend the opening of the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge New York. Photograph by Melissa Grappone.

Based on World T.E.A.M. SportsAdventure Team Challenge in Colorado’s high mountains bringing together disabled veterans and civilians with able-bodied competitors, the New York event management team incorporates the same physical exertion and sense of adventure. To succeed in summiting Slide Mountain, the Catskills’ highest peak at 4,190 feet, athletes with disabilities must team with their able-bodied coaches in gaining nearly 1,900 feet in elevation over three miles. On Frost Valley’s Lake Cole, teams in the Regatta Challenge use canoes and paddles to complete the course. The fast-paced relay challenge includes bicycling, hurdles, runs, a hoop toss and a bean bag toss.

World T.E.A.M. Sports is proud to again partner with American Portfolios and the Center for Discovery to present this event,” said World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson. “This event allows us to bring our team concept to those whose disabilities preclude them from traveling to our larger events. This event gives meaning to the phrase ‘The Exceptional Athlete Matters,’ and its impact on the participants, volunteers and spectators cannot be over stated.”

For everyone involved, from athletes to coaches to sponsors and partners, the Challenge delivers fun, excitement and a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the weekend, as the athletes return home, they understand that outdoor sports and adventure has enhanced their lives and introduced a sense of appreciation for water sports, bicycling, and climbing.

Boat launch at the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge.

A boat launches at the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge Regatta. Photograph by Melissa Grappone.

As a special event this year, master blues musician and recording artist Gary Allegretto will provide a harmonica clinic for participants to learn more about creating music from the popular reed wind instrument. Allegretto is providing Hohner harmonicas and sheet music for Challenge participants. On the evening of September 11, the Blue Stone Band will provide a free concert for participants, staff and families.

The 2015 Adventure Team Challenge New York is sponsored by American Portfolios Financial Services Inc., a Holbrook, New York independent brokerage and financial service corporation founded in 2001. The event is presented in partnership with The Carrus Institute and The Center for Discovery, a non-profit Harris, New York organization that has provided educational, health, residential and family support for children and adults with severe disabilities for more than 60 years.

Hiking at the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge.

Athletes hike at the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge New York. Photograph by Melissa Grappone.