By Richard Rhinehart
Harris, New York, June 4, 2018 – World T.E.A.M.’s Adventure Team Challenge, New York State’s most inspiring outdoor team challenge competition, begins June 7 at The Center for Discovery in Harris. Bringing together young developmentally-disabled athletes with skilled able-bodied coaches, the Challenge includes cycling, water sports, orienteering, and a climb of Slide Mountain, the Catskills’ highest peak.
Developed by American Portfolios Financial Services CEO and President Lon Dolber in 2010, the annual Challenge includes employees of the Long Island financial services company, along with volunteers from national non-profit World T.E.A.M. The Center for Discovery selects the athletes for the competition, and members of the organization’s staff participate in the management and running of the Challenge.
The event is modeled on World T.E.A.M.’s successful Adventure Team Challenge in Colorado’s high Gore Mountain Range near the Continental Divide. Although the New York Challenge is not as aggressively challenging as the Colorado event, athletes at the Center’s grounds in Harris and at the Frost Valley YMCA Camp in the Catskill Mountains learn that teamwork and cooperation are key to successfully completing each stage of the event.
“The Adventure Team Challenge in upstate New York is one of American Portfolios’ flagship community events in which its staff members and affiliated investment professionals look forward to being a part of each and every year,” says AP’s CEO Lon T. Dolber. “When organizations like World T.E.A.M., The Center for Discovery and AP come together to create opportunities for transformative experiences among its participants, whether they be athletes, coaches or volunteers, more than any personal, professional or financial gain, there is no greater reward than being able to lift the human spirit. That’s what ATC does.”
“We are excited to once again partner with the Center for Discovery on the Adventure Team Challenge New York,” said World T.E.A.M. CEO and President Jon Brideau. “This unique event challenges athletes, who have significant developmental disabilities and medical frailties, through outdoor athletic events.”
Noting that “more than 180 developmentally-disabled athletes selected by The Center for Discovery have participated” in the Challenge since 2010, Brideau reported he is proud of the event’s success. Prior to participating in the Challenge, many of the adaptive athletes had not ridden bicycles, paddled boats or climbed a mountain peak. These new experiences with the able-bodied coaches can be life-changing, providing a better understanding of the pleasures of outdoor sporting activities and encouraging more outdoor activities.
One of the highlights in the friendly team competition is a climb of Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills at 4,180 feet. Climbers gain 1,700 feet in elevation in their ascent, which will begin early in the morning of June 9. Other Challenge athletes not taking part in the ascent will hike a shorter route in the mountain’s hardwood forested slopes before returning to Frost Valley for the concluding regatta on Lake Cole.
The success of the Challenge depends greatly on the efforts of the sponsors and volunteers. “I would like to thank our supporters who make this amazing event possible; American Portfolios Financial Services and their employees who volunteer, the Carrus Institute, and The Center of Discovery,” said Brideau.
The Adventure Team Challenge New York is co-directed by Dolber and Richard Humleker, Vice President for Development for The Center for Discovery. American Portfolios’ Sandy White and MaryAnn Rosolino serve as event coordinators, along with Jim Cashen and Sam Rose of The Center for Discovery. Sponsorship for the Challenge is 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.