Emma and Mika crop
Emma and Mika

Getting involved with adaptive sport and VASS

Emma first became involved in adaptive sport when she was nine, through an adaptive soccer league. She came to volunteer with a friend but it was raining and he didn’t want to play – but the rain didn’t bother Emma and she joined another team. That is how she met eight year old Mika, and the two girls have been friends ever since.

Emma became a strong, positive role model for Mika and skied with Mika’s family as a peer mentor.  When Emma heard about Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) she jumped at the opportunity to join in and help. 

I like teaching because I get to meet amazing people

The girls did their adaptive ski instructor training together and went on to volunteer on Sunday mornings – and had a blast! They were assigned to different students and worked with lead instructors to gain new skills, but would often meet to ski together after finishing their VASS lesson. 

Almost a decade later Emma, who is now 18 years old, is a committed and experienced instructor. She has worked hard to learn new teaching skills, such as tethering sit skis, through training sessions offered by VASS.  “I like teaching with VASS because I get  to meet lots of amazing people,” says Emma. “It is a very kind, helpful and inclusive environment.”

Inspiring others to volunteer

Emma’s commitment reaches even beyond her own volunteering and her passion for VASS has inspired others. When VASS was short of volunteers Emma encouraged her sister and mom to train as instructors, and in 2014 she received an award for helping to recruit new volunteers.  “I love getting the opportunity to work with wonderful students and to watch their excitement when they succeed,” says Emma, summing up her passion and enthusiasm for the program.

Emma continues to teach with VASS alongside a busy life. She is a true leader, a friend and a dedicated volunteer. 

Thanks to amazing volunteers like Emma VASS can continue to provide ski and snowboard programs for people with disabilities. If you are interested in supporting VASS why not join us at the VASS Cup on March 3 at Grouse Mountain as a volunteer or a participant? Find out more at www.vass.ca/vass-cup.