Making new tracks

Every now and then a fresh approach, new ideas and a strategic plan help propel non-profit organizations to greater success. And success in the adaptive recreation sector, which could never meet the growing demand for programming, means a constant search for the almighty grail of sustainability.  Times are changing and in the case of Ontario Track 3 Ski Association, with a proud 40 plus year history of success, the time has come to make some new tracks.

Sustainability for Track3 means focusing on long term donor and funder procurement, building amazing partners in the industry and most importantly of all, increasing their volunteer ski and snowboarding instructor base.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of this organization – we are putting out a refreshed platform to make sure that the experience that we offer for our valued volunteer instructors fits in with their lifestyle,” says Executive Director Naomi Schafler.

Striking at the heart of the incredible impact this organization provides to children with cognitive and physical disabilities, the Track3 Board has redefined their value proposition to focus their energy on Inclusion, Ability and Freedom.

 “We want to create a culture where our tenured volunteers are encouraged to motivate and empower younger volunteers, giving them the feeling of trust, responsibility and satisfaction,” explains Fayaz Teja, a volunteer sit ski instructor and Board Director with Track 3.  “Looking at volunteer recruitment from the perspective of the next generation means investing in strategies that capitalize on their time (which is increasingly more limited), skills and personal goals.”

Ontario Track 3 Ski Association started out with a few committed volunteers who wanted to provide a ski experience for children with physical disabilities. More than 40 years later, this charitable organization is still making magic on the snowy hills at many of Ontario’s private ski resorts. More than 340 instructors every season are required to fulfill the demand of approximately 8,195 teaching hours.

Students learn to ski and snowboard with adaptive equipment and teaching techniques. The physical health and social benefits are huge, appreciated by every family in the program.  But the more important successes come with building confidence and independence.  Those intangible benefits, which appeal to student athletes and volunteer instructors alike, are where the true path to inclusion, ability and freedom lie.

Partnering with Track 3, Horizon Magazine is pleased to support the efforts of Ontario Track 3 Ski Association.

Story by Naomi Schafler