We recently had the opportunity to speak with Wangchen, the mother of Anthony, one of our participants for the past year. Anthony has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and over the past year, he has tried Achieve Tahoe’s winter and summer activities.
Achieve Tahoe: Wangchen, what activities has Anthony participated in with Achieve Tahoe? What are his favorites?
Wangchen: In February 2022, Anthony tried skiing for the first time in his life, at age 14. He loved the experience . In July 2022, Anthony participated for two days in Sierra Summer Sports. In July 2023, Anthony returned to do two days at Sierra Summer Sports, and tried climbing for the first time in his life.
Climbing and tubing (at Sierra Summer Sports) are his top choices, and he also liked kayaking and skiing very much.
Achieve Tahoe: What recreation does Anthony do at home?
Wangchen: Anthony loves to be active. He swims 4 days a week with the Santa Clara Swim Club.
Achieve Tahoe: How are the Achieve Tahoe activities different?
Wangchen: It is difficult for Anthony to try and participate in various sports and activities due to his disability, despite his love to be active. Achieve Tahoe offers a unique opportunity for children like Anthony, enabling them to try many different sports and activities with accommodations; for example, without Achieve Tahoe, Anthony wouldn’t have the opportunities to try climbing, skiing, sailing, nor riding on a jet ski. This widens his life experience, and gives him more confidence and a hope for a fuller life.
Achieve Tahoe: Wangchen, what was it like for you to be able to participate with Anthony and recreate together?
Wangchen: For me participating in Achieve Tahoe’s activities, I didn’t feel so isolated, meeting other families with similar challenges, and meeting people who are kind, accepting of our needs and generously helping us. I also get to enjoy a nice summer break, experiencing new activities with Anthony without worrying whether my son is fitting in or able to participate.
Achieve Tahoe: How has Anthony’s independence grown since participating with Achieve Tahoe? What has he learned to do?
Wangchen: Anthony has tried many new activities for the first time with Achieve Tahoe, – skiing, paddle boarding, riding on a jet ski, tubing, sailing, and rock climbing. He is gaining more confidence that he can manage his anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed, knowing that he has been able to face new things with successes.
Achieve Tahoe: Is there a particular achievement Anthony is most proud of?
Wangchen: Anthony wasn’t deterred when he couldn’t reach the top of the climb. He wasn’t frustrated either. He would just rest, re-focus and try again and again. He did succeed!
Achieve Tahoe: Wangchen, is there a particular achievement that you are most proud of for yourself?
Wangchen: I was proud that I tried paddle boarding standing up, despite my fears of water and falling in the lake (Sheila and Abby were most encouraging)!
Achieve Tahoe: What was your favorite part of Climbing and Sierra Summer Sports this year?
Wangchen: My favorite part this year, was seeing Anthony being more independent, and not breaking down with anxiety when faced with new challenges. I was surprised that without prompt, he used the climbing powder as he was half way up the side of the rock wall. He didn’t show it but he was listening and paying attention to the instructions.
Thank you Wangchen for taking the time to speak with us. We look forward to seeing you soon at future programs!