Life is taken for granted every single day, with time wasted fretting over the most insignificant problems we run into. Next time you think you're having the worst day of your life, just think about those who might be having a slightly more difficult time. For instance, a man with one arm trying to dress himself. Or a mother spoon-feeding her 18-year-old wheelchair-stricken daughter, unable to eat on her own. For the majority of us, life is a walk in the park, unlike thousands of less-fortunate individuals who must make the best of what they've been given.
The United States Adaptive Recreation Center (USARC) is a non-profit organization located in Big Bear, California that supports individuals of all ages suffering from cognitive/mental and physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, amputees, mental retardation, spinal cord injuries, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, vision/hearing impaired, and many other unfortunate conditions. The program is dedicated to giving these individuals the chance to experience sports and activities that they may otherwise not be able to partake in like skiing, mountain biking, and kayaking with the use of specially designed equipment. Participants leave the program with an increased feeling of self-confidence and a positive outlook on life, knowing that they are still capable of enjoying these types of activities just like everybody else.
With the joy of these activities comes hard work and determination. Skiing and snowboarding are extremely strenuous activities, which only makes their accomplishments more monumental and inspiring. It takes a great amount of courage to stick through the learning process to be able to get around the mountain on their own. The learning curve can be extremely difficult and plays a huge role in the attitude they later have towards life. Once they achieve this success it is easier to apply this feeling to other sections of their lives.
Our film follows several volunteer instructors who assist in teaching disabled individuals how to ski with the use of special adaptive equipment. We learn about the program’s affects on their attitudes and their new outlook on life after conquering this major feat while bringing major joy to their lives.
We hope "The Vertical Challenge" conveys to the audience that no matter what you're given in life, you've got to make the best of it. After hearing some of the success stories, there is no excuse for anybody to give up hope. Everybody has the ability to rise up and accomplish a challenge. All you have to do is try.
Producer: Tyler Johnston
Director of Photography: Christopher Richardson
Editor: Nathan Ward
Sound: Elysia Eleassear
Writer: Audrey Richter
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