Kids of Courage Takes 40 Ill Children to Vermont


kids-of-courageThis past weekend, Kids of Courage once again accomplished the remarkable. For the second consecutive year, they took more than 40 children with serious illnesses on the trip of their lives to ski the slopes of Vermont. Ventilators, wheelchairs, and the like did not stop the group from doing what can only be described as amazing. “Conquering Illness Through Adventure”, the organization has been pushing the limits since its founding in March 2009, when they took a group of children to Los Angeles for a magical 5 day adventure. They have since put together 2 week long dream trips, as well as dozens of fun-filled events and community weekends throughout the year.

Over 200 people, including campers, counselors, volunteers, medical personnel, logistical staff and donor families traveled with the Peter Pan bus company, enjoyed beautiful accommodations at the Sheraton Monarch Place in Springfield, Massachusetts and were wined and dined by First Class Caterers of Waterbury, CT. The group was treated to a rare opportunity with a visit to the Westover US Air Reserve Base where everyone had a chance to climb aboard one of the worlds largest planes, don authentic firefighter and military gear and navigate the machinery. As a keepsake, each camper was given a personalized dog tag and a goody bag filled with Air Force badges, hats, posters and other surprises. It was an honor for Kids of Courage to be the first group to ever be invited to the inner portions of a top active military base!

After spending an inspiring Shabbos together, everyone enjoyed a Soul Farm concert, Kids of Courage style. The music was magnetic, drawing all in together with wheelchairs being twirled into the air. Even the Sheraton staff could not resist in putting on some light up gear and joining in the fun.

With an early start Sunday morning, the Kids of Courage family headed to Mt. Snow, Vermont. The campers, layered in their brand new Spyder gear, were prepped by the Ability Plus instructors who chose adaptive skis tailored to meet each campers individual needs. The excitement was contagious and could be felt all around. It was hard to tell who was looking forward to it more – the campers or the instructors. For Ability Plus, this was the largest group with disabilities skiing in one day. It was a day filled with many first time experiences for campers, staff, and families.

In the words of Michal Burstein & Michal Pretter, two dedicated volunteers, “Watching campers ski, taking the ‘dis’ out of ‘disabilities’, was truly mind blowing. The cheering from the top of the slopes & down from the ski lifts of staff supporting campers and campers supporting each other echoed throughout Mt. Snow. The family unity amongst campers and staff, staff members helping campers as well as fellow staff learn to ski, each member taking joy in each others success, was inspiring. We felt so lucky to be a part of it all.” As so elequently stated by veteran Kids of Courage camper Rivky Deren, “I would rather be sick here with you than sick at home.”

The Ski Madness weekend was sponsored in part by The Outreach Center. A big thank you to the Kids of Courage staff for helping with fund raising, under the leadership of Dovid Herzka.

{Noam Newscenter}



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