More than 400 highly-trained volunteer instructors make Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports’ mission of empowering individuals with disabilities possible. Out of a dedicated pool of volunteers, Vermont Adaptive program coordinators recognized this year’s three Volunteers of the Year at off-snow training this fall, which were held virtually due to the pandemic.
Julie Kaye, of Hinesburg, Kevin Maichen, of Killington, and Rob Galloway, of Richmond, were named 2021 volunteers of the year. This tribute is presented in honor of Jim Hutchinson, a Vermont Adaptive volunteer who left a legacy of empowerment to people of all abilities and a commitment toward supporting the organization.
“Each year, there are a few individuals who shine,” said Tom Alcorn, senior program coordinator at Vermont Adaptive. “It has been different programming through a pandemic, but volunteers continue to be a part of our core crew, and we couldn’t do what we do without them. Jim Hutchinson was the most dedicated volunteer Vermont Adaptive or any organization could hope for. I know he would be so proud of our accomplishments in what we have built over the past years.”
Julie Kaye volunteers at the organization’s Bolton Valley and Burlington waterfront/bike path locations year-round. She played a crucial role during the pandemic last winter, volunteering at Bolton Valley numerous days a week and stepping up to fill in where needed. She has put in extra time and effort to develop her personal and teaching skills over the past two winters as well. In the summer, she was always quick to volunteer and willing to join in for a lesson or outing on short notice. “She brings a kind and patient energy to lessons, making her a fan-favorite for participants, volunteers and staff working with her,” said Molly Tobin, program coordinator for these two locations.
Kevin Maichen has been a volunteer at Vermont Adaptive since 2017. First as an intern, Maichen worked tirelessly to engage participants, families and everyone to become even more involved with the outdoors. Upon completing the internship, he stayed active in programs and has chosen a path working with youth in schools and alternative education classrooms. In addition to instructing cycling, paddling and being an avid snowboarder, Maichen is often one of the last people standing at fundraising events including the Vermont Adaptive Challenge, VT100, VT50 and many more. He also recently decided to learn to ski to expand his skills and teach even more individuals to enjoy sliding on the snow.
Rob Galloway has been a reliable part of Vermont Adaptive in many capacities for more than five years by being consistent and reliable helping with monoski lessons, beginner lessons and everything in between. His versatility and willingness to help is invaluable, especially with last minute changes on busy holidays or ski team mornings at Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush Resort. In addition to a high level of knowledge in skiing, Galloway has been instrumental in the adaptive mountain bike program. As an intern, he helped build the program and is now available to help with lessons, maintenance of bikes, and pushing Adaptive Mountain Biking in Vermont to the next level. In addition to teaching, he can often be found helping at many special events including the VT100, VT50, Vermont Adaptive Challenge and others.
To volunteer at Vermont Adaptive, candidates must participate in off-snow and on-snow training for winter programs each year or for summer training in the spring. To learn more, visit vermontadaptive.org/get-involved