EDD Adaptive Sports made grants to three local organizations that offer specialized sports instruction for athletes with disabilities. The grants, totaling $6,500, will help individuals with disabilities in Central NY to improve their skills or learn a new sport. The mission of EDD Adaptive Sports (formerly EDD Memorial Fund) is to share the joy of sports with athletes with disabilities.
Athelas Therapeutic Riding received a grant to support their 2021 horseback riding lesson program. The combination of PATH certified instructors and gentle horses at Athelas Therapeutic Riding create an ideal learning environment for their riders. EDD Adaptive Sports has partnered with Athelas since 2012, and there is significant cross-over between their participants.
The 10th Eric D. Dettenrieder Race Camp in Windham, NY is a 3-day intensive training opportunity in mid-February for intermediate and advanced skiers. The Adaptive Sports Foundation has partnered with EDD Adaptive Sports for more than 20 years to increase competitive skiing options for skiers with disabilities.
Otsego Area Rowing (OAR) has a mission to help people of all ages discover their ability to move a shell through the water. Together, OAR and EDD Adaptive Sports have developed an adaptive rowing program that has gained enthusiastic support from athletes and volunteers alike.
“The adaptive rowing program here on Lake Otsego is the most rewarding activity undertaken by OAR,” said OAR Treasurer Langhorne Keith. The grant from EDD Adaptive Sports will support adaptive rowing lessons and equipment for the 2021 season.
About EDD Adaptive Sports:
EDD Adaptive Sports, formerly known as the Eric D. Dettenrieder Memorial Fund, is a non-profit organization that provides sports and recreation programs for individuals with disabilities. Their goal is for kids and adults with disabilities to experience freedom, independence and adventure through participation in sports. Their motto is, “If I can do this, I can do anything!” EDD Adaptive Sports partners with Hartwick College, SUNY Delhi and SUNY Morrisville to offer team and lifetime sport programs like biking, fitness, kickball and pickleball in Central New York. College student volunteers assist at many programs. Since 1998, more than 4,325 individuals with disabilities have benefited from EDD programs. EDD Adaptive Sports is a chapter of Move United.
Athlete Spotlight: Emma Benasich
Emma Benasich lives in Dorset, VT and has a been participating in EDD clinics for about 7 years. She plays basketball with the Bulldogs Special Olympics team at Burr and Burton Academy. She has participated in EDD Memorial Fund programs at Castleton University since our first basketball program with the Spartans in 2012. Emma has a great attitude and is always excited to practice and play! She shared her thoughts about our programs with interns Bridie McNamara and Meghan Dieterle.
Emma participates in a variety of sports, but her favorite sport is basketball. She really enjoys playing with the college teams. Emma’s favorite part of the clinics is the boys who help run the clinics and the pizza at the end to celebrate everyone's hard work at the clinic. Her favorite EDD clinic that she has done so far is the soccer clinic run by the Castleton’s soccer teams. Even though she really likes the soccer clinics, since basketball is her favorite sport, she also really likes the basketball clinics with the Castleton basketball teams. She said that all the players are really nice and they make her feel happy! Emma really enjoys the opportunity to play with college athletes because they are all really supportive (and the boys are cute!).
Emma’s mom, Meg Benasich, is also very appreciative of the clinics, as they have given Emma the opportunity to meet and hang out with other kids whom she otherwise wouldn’t have met. She also says that all of the athletes who volunteer are positive, engaging and energetic. And, more importantly, they share a mutual respect with the participating athletes. She is so grateful for all the joy and memories the EDD Memorial Fund clinics have given her daughter.
Last November, Amanda Powell was presented with the Hartwick College President’s Award as part of the EDD Memorial Fund’s 20th Anniversary celebration. Amanda is from Norwich, NY and she attends school at Pathfinder Village, a community for individuals with Down Syndrome. Amanda has been participating in EDD Memorial Fund events for many years by participating in clinics for biking, swimming, basketball, soccer and skiing. She is currently doing a yoga session, where she enjoys being with her peers and she is always willing to help them if they are struggling.
On January 30th, Amanda joined Hartwick College President, Margaret Drugovich, for a day at Hartwick College as part of her recognition for the award she received in November. Amanda and Dr. Drugovich were able to attend an art class, in which, they were able to see the art building, an art gallery and the pottery room. Amanda really liked seeing the art gallery; she was able to see various types of art, like sculptures and paintings. After visiting the art class, Amanda and Dr. Drugovich went to dinner at Panera where Amanda said she “got a really good salad!” Then, Amanda and Dr. Drugovich attended the basketball game where Hartwick College was playing Sage College.
At half time of the game, Amanda was recognized with an on-court presentation of the Hartwick College President’s Award. The announcer said a few words about the EDD Memorial Fund and Amanda’s participation in our events. Katie Marcella, the head women’s basketball coach, presented Amanda with a Hartwick Hawk’s down jacket. EDD Board Member Celie Smith gave Amanda a photo of herself from the EDD biking clinic last fall. Amanda was really excited to have been honored at the basketball game. Even though Hartwick lost in overtime, Amanda had lots of fun (and was glad that Hartwick wasn’t playing Syracuse because they’re her favorite college team!). Amanda said she had such a fun day with Dr. Drugovich at Hartwick College.
On August 26th, the Saint Michael's College Women's Soccer Team hosted an adaptive soccer clinic for athletes. We had 10 participants who were paired up with a player from St. Mike’s. Together, we worked on dribbling, passing, shooting, and goalie skills at different stations lead by other St. Mike’s soccer players. We ended the clinic with a scrimmage with athletes and St. Mike’s players on both teams. We gave out medals and signed soccer balls for the athletes and they got to run through a tunnel made by the college players while everyone was cheering them on.
The Saint Michael’s Women’s Soccer head coach, Wendy Elles, was recently interviewed about the soccer clinics and when asked what she loves most about them, she explains “the smiles, the laughter, the joy, and the high fives and the hugs at the end, those are the moments that I love.” Both the participants and the college players get so much enjoyment out of these clinics; it is such a wonderful atmosphere where everyone can play the game they love together while laughing, smiling and scoring lots of goals! We are looking forward to the next adaptive soccer clinic!
The 100 Women Who Care Christmas in July party is a fun way to make your charitable dollars go further. The beauty of this event is its simplicity: 100 women gather to select one local charity to support and leverage a $10,000 donation. The price of entry is donated to the chosen charity (100 women x $100 = $10,000).
The party is on July 25, 2017 from 5 – 7pm at the B Sides Ballroom in Oneonta. Each woman who attends can nominate their favorite charity. All the nomination forms are put into a hat, and three charities are selected to make a short presentation. Then the crowd votes and a winner is selected. The more nominations we receive, the greater our chances of being pulled as one of the lucky three presenters. We are encouraging our friends to attend and nominate EDD Memorial Fund.
I will be there to represent the EDD Memorial Fund, and to support the many charities doing great work in the Oneonta area. Join me if you can – come to support EDD Memorial Fund sport programs or support your favorite charity! No matter which charity goes home with the prize, we are all part of making positive social change.
100 Women Who Care Otsego is a group of local women who are interested in supporting our local community in the Otsego County New York area by contributing to local charities together as a unit to increase the impact.
On March 25th, the Saint Michael's College Women's Soccer Team hosted an adaptive soccer clinic for athletes. Despite the cold weather, we were able to hold the clinic indoors and still have a blast! The participants got to work on their dribbling, passing, shooting, and goalie skills. All of the athletes were able to have a ton of individual attention from the college players. We ended the session with a scrimmage involving all the participants and even members of the Saint Mike's team.
We concluded the morning with bagels and an awards ceremony. Each athlete got a Saint Mike's Soccer t-shirt, medal, and a certificate for participating. They also got to run through the human tunnel made by the college players, which is always a favorite! There's nothing better than seeing the EDD athletes and Saint Mike's athletes having a blast together while playing a sport everyone loves. The morning was so much fun! We can't wait for the next adaptive soccer clinic!
Meet Our Spring Interns!
We are excited to announce that we have two new interns from Saint Michael's College for the spring semester, Emily Durette and Megan LeCours. They will be helping us update our social media outlets and help organize a variety of events for our EDD athletes, including the 5K in April and a clinic at Saint Michael's College for our athletes. Keep reading to learn more about the girls!
Hi! My name is Emily Durette and I am interning for the EDD program this spring. I am a sophomore at Saint Michael’s College and am a neuroscience major. I also am a member of the Women’s Soccer Team. I have been involved with Special Olympics and Unified Sports in high school. I am really excited to continue working with the athletes and families in the EDD program this spring!
Hi! My name is Megan LeCours and I am one of the new interns for the spring semester. I am a sophomore here at St. Mike’s and I am majoring in Business Administration. I am also a member of the women’s soccer team. I have worked with some of the athletes during the EDD soccer clinics in the past and I am excited to continue sharing my love for the game!
All-Star Benefit a Huge Success!
Posted by Gretchen Owens
The EDD Memorial Fund All-Star Benefit exceeded our expectations in every way. What a night we had, with nearly 80 guests and athletes gathered together to celebrate adaptive sports! Guests enjoyed the friendly competition bidding on items in the silent auction, while the younger crowd (and the young at heart), were entertained by the balloon art of Barb Fields.
The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the 2016 EDD All-Star Team. Eleven athletes attended, as representatives of the hundreds of young people who played sports with us this year. Eric was happiest when he was playing sports, and the athletes who attend our programs undoubtedly share that joy. When we ask them what they like about EDD programs, “fun” is at the top of the list.
We celebrate the courage and tenacity of our athletes to get out and play sports. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and donors, the All-Star Benefit raised 35% more funds than it did in 2015. All of the proceeds will support our adaptive sports programs for handicapable youth.
Posted by Nicole Deorsey
On Sunday October 21st, twenty EDD athletes and Saint Michaels Women’s and Men’s Soccer players all came together for an adaptive soccer clinic. Andie and I had been looking forward to this clinic throughout our whole time being interns for EDD. Our goal was to make it the best clinic it could possibly be for the athletes. It also gave athletes the opportunity to learn about the basics of soccer and to build scrimmage with and against the SMC athletes.
As I circulated around to each athlete, I noticed that they were engaged and having a lot of fun no matter what type of skill level they had. It was really about them as athletes and being able to get away for a whole and just play soccer. The college athletes had a wonderful time seeing familiar faces and developing new bonds with other athletes. Following the soccer session, we celebrated the athletes’ efforts by giving them each a trophy and certificate. They ran through a tunnel of out-stretched arms, created by the SMC soccer players, to the tune of a huge cheering section. We are looking forward to holding another clinic in Spring of 2017 at Saint Michael’s College to grow more connections between SMC athletes a special bond with the college athletes and local youth who participate with EDD.
Posted by Cassandra Devaney and Nicole Deorsey
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Staci Mannella, a Paralympic skier and former athlete with the EDD Memorial Fund. Staci, a junior at Dartmouth, graciously took the time to talk with us about her experience with the EDD program as well as her life as a Paralympian. Staci was born with achromatopsia, a rare genetic disease that affects her eyesight causing light sensitivity, bad visual acuity, and color blindness. Despite her visual impairment, Staci has thrived in the ski world. Though her parents got her involved in various other sports, skiing was the sport that took hold when she was four years old and became an activity they could all do as a family. After catching the eye of ski coaches at the Windham Adaptive Sports Foundation in New York, Staci realized that the dream of becoming a Paralympian was a realistic goal. At the age of twelve, she began working with a guide with whom she would race with. To race with a guide, the guide goes down the course first, communicating with the athlete via blue chip microphones about when to turn, what the conditions are like and what path to take in order to get the athlete down the mountain as safely, and as quickly, as possible. Staci emphasized how important the relationship between athlete and guide is. For Staci to get down the mountain safely, she has to completely trust her guides judgment and communication, a task that is not easy in a fast paced sport like ski racing. Staci also commented on how the relationship between the athlete and the guide changes the sport. Skiing is normally an individual sport, but with a guide the sport becomes a team effort, with both working towards a common goal. Staci says having her guide benefitted her greatly when she was younger by pushing her to become a better athlete and to rigorously pursue the dream of becoming a Paralympian.
When talking to Staci about her experience in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, she told us it was an opportunity like no other. After years and years of training and sacrificing her time, she had finally achieved her ultimate skiing goal. Being able to ski in the same races as athletes she admired as a young skier was surreal. She firmly believes that the experience in Sochi change her perspective since she began training for the games so young. She found herself questioning what she wanted to do next since she had arrived at the destination she had been seeking since she was twelve. She admits it was a little overwhelming but then set her sights on the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyongchang, South Korea and returned to training. It amazed us how often she trains and the dedication it took for her to get to where she is today. We could not stop asking about how Staci managed to balance life as a college student at Dartmouth and life as a professional athlete. We are student athletes ourselves but not Olympians and could not fathom how rigorous the training must be on top of everything else going on in her life!
While reflecting on her training and the incredible feats she has accomplished, Staci shared with us how important the EDD Fund has been throughout her life. The EDD Fund has been a huge supporter of the Adaptive Sports Foundation and Staci’s journey to the Paralympics. She expressed her gratitude for being able to be a part of a program as rewarding as the EDD Fund. Staci emphasized how incredible it was to see the program giving so many athletes the opportunity to be involved in adaptive sports and pushing them to do whatever they believe they can do.