BIGFORK — For over 36 years, Dream Adaptive has been hosting outdoor events for people with disabilities. And this week, the Whitefish nonprofit is throwing its 13th annual water sports program.
With lake life being one of Montanan's summer favorites, Dream Adaptive wanted to help people with disabilities have access to all the summer fun, while also giving them an opportunity to learn new skills and connect with other people.
"I was able to take what I learned, I had worked with the Olympic and Paralympic Committee in Colorado before, so I was able to take what I learned there and really be able to give back to this incredible community," said Julie Tickle, the executive director of Dream Adaptive.
It's not just this community that Dream Adaptive is giving back to, as people from all over come out to experience these events.
"We haven't found anything like this in Georgia. Montana seems to have a lot of opportunities for young people or people of any age for adaptive sports, and that are fun sports for them to do like water skiing or snowboarding," said Margaret Camp, the mother of participant Spencer Yerba.
"I ended up coming and moving up here, a lot of the reasons knowing that Dream Adaptive is here, and not only will I be able to get out and do sports with them, it's almost like a family," participant Stacy Jaquith added.
The Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund donated a $7,500 grant to support this water sports program. Thanks to them, the Dream Adaptive family was able to bring smiles to countless faces.
"So happy to see him with his hands up and a smile on his face," said Camp.
"It's hard for people to imagine unless you're inside of it, everyone's cheering you on, everyone's working to push everyone else just that little bit more. Just to know that it's possible for somebody who has a disability to do whatever they want," added Jaquith.
And when they leave by the end of the day, they find a new level of self-confidence.
"Even though I have doubt in myself or I don't believe that I'm capable. If I don't try, or if I do try, there's possibility that I'm more capable than I think I am," said Jaquith.