By Richard Rhinehart
Charlotte, North Carolina, September 24, 2015 – National nonprofit World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina will be held November 13-15 at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Featuring eight teams of disabled and able-bodied civilian and military veterans, this inclusive team adventure race will show participating athletes and the public that teamwork and cooperation can overcome any challenges.
Presented by MetLife, the Challenge will include river rafting, off-road bicycling, rock climbing and orienteering at the scenic 700-acre U.S. National Whitewater Center. Each team of five athletes will include two athletes with disabilities, one being a wheelchair user. To successfully complete each of the stages, teams will need to depend on the collective knowledge and skills of all team members.
“Teamwork is at the heart of all service,” said United States Marine and social entrepreneur Rye Barcott, a Charlotte resident who will provide the keynote talk at the Challenge’s October 1 banquet. “My favorite quote is by the anthropologist Margaret Mead, who said, ‘never doubt the power of a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens to change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ I have seen the power of small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens in the Marines, with social enterprises overseas, and here at home with leading non-profit organizations, such as World T.E.A.M. Sports. Teamwork makes us better. It’s the path to make a lasting impact.”
The author of the best-selling book, “It Happened on the Way to War,” and the founder of the international nonprofit Carolina For Kibera, with two social entrepreneurs from Nairobi, Kenya, Barcott is a believer in the “butterfly effect” in social change. “The butterfly effect – the notion that small acts of kindness carry ripples that we may never see – is an idea worth spreading. It’s also a belief that can help carry dedicated non-profit workers and volunteers through the inevitable valleys of hardship when they can burn-out from the hard slog of sustaining service.”
Barcott’s nonprofit organization Carolina For Kibera was started while he was an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The organization is unique, Barcott said, “because it invests directly in the most promising young leaders in one of the world’s largest slums, and it uses sports to prevent violence and create a platform that drives change from within the community.”
“Starting an organization is often exhilarating,” Barcott said. “My passion in starting Carolina For Kibera was as much driven by my desire to make an impact in a place of shocking poverty, as it was to have an adventure and experience the exhilaration of starting something new. What I have realized after 15 years with Carolina For Kibera, is that starting something is relatively easy compared to sustaining it.”
World T.E.A.M. Sports, which began in Charlotte in 1993, is returning to North Carolina for the first time in more than a decade to direct the Challenge. Currently headquartered in Holbrook, New York, the organization creates inclusive events that change lives through sports. Past events from the nonprofit include a world bicycle ride, several cross-country bicycle rides, climbs of high peaks in Asia and Africa and events like the Adventure Team Challenge, first held in Colorado’s high mountains in 2007.
The Adventure Team Challenge was created to bring together athletes from varying backgrounds in an outdoor environment to work as teams to solve technical and logistical challenges. With participants including injured military veterans, as well as civilians who sustained injuries in accidents or through illness, the Challenge has welcomed amputees, persons with paralysis, persons who are blind or deaf, persons with post-traumatic stress and persons with traumatic brain injuries. Teaming with able-bodied athletes, the resulting teams successfully complete the Challenge through cooperation.
The Challenge begins at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on the afternoon of November 13 and continues through the early afternoon of November 15. Athletes from North Carolina and across the United States will be traveling to Charlotte to compete as members of eight teams.
The 2015 Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina from World T.E.A.M. Sports is supported through sponsors and partners including presenting sponsor MetLife, American Portfolios Financial Services, American Airlines, Penske Truck Rentals and TimeCapital. Additional financial support is provided by George Puskar.