Nonprofit Spotlight: The National Ability Center

National Ability Center

This month, I’m catching up with a beloved local nonprofit that has a lot of exciting things going on: the National Ability Center. The National Ability Center (NAC) makes the recreational activities that draw many of us to the Park City area accessible to all.

Recently, my friend Tanya Boland joined the NAC team to help expand their impact. As the new Senior Director of Communications and Engagement, Tanya is working on a number of new initiatives at the NAC and also settling into her new home—she and her family moved to Park City this past July. I chatted with Tanya to find out more about her role and what’s new at the NAC—here’s the latest in Tanya’s words.

Tanya Boland

Tanya Boland, Senior Director of Communications and Engagement at the National Ability Center

1. The NAC has its sights set beyond just the state of Utah.

“We want to raise awareness of the benefit of adaptive recreation to people of differing abilities from cognitive to physical, raise awareness of the recreation opportunities at the National Ability Center, and advocate for inclusion. We will continue our focus in Utah while building awareness in the rest of the United States and internationally,” says Tanya. Currently, the NAC serves people from all 50 states and from 18 countries, but wants to even further expand its reach out-of-state.

“We want someone with PTSD in New Hampshire or Indiana to be aware that we can help them move from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ and the importance of including their family in this process.” From University of Utah clinical trials with veterans, the NAC has learned that the outside recreational therapy combined with traditional therapy it provides can significantly reduce PTSD symptoms within 4-6 days among some participants. So it’s no wonder the NAC wants to serve as many people nationwide as it can.

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ – August 18, 2017: National Ability Center Grand Canyon trip with Western River Expeditions (Photo by Don Cook)

2. A new merger with Splore means expanded recreational offerings.

This Salt Lake City-based organization offers activities not previously in NAC’s roster like rock climbing and river rafting in Moab. “We will also now have a camp with yurts,” says Tanya. “We now have more opportunities for participants to engage in adaptive recreation and outdoor adventure beyond Park City.”

Photo Credit: National Ability Center

3. In the works is a new activity center on Park City Mountain.

NAC just signed a 50-year land lease with Vail and hopes to break ground on a new mountain center next spring with funds raised during a recent capital campaign. Stay tuned for exciting details on this new asset.

4. The big goal: serve four times as many people.

“Right now, we service over 5,500 participants every year. These participants engage in over 30,000 experiences—from archery to a ropes course to river rafting and horseback riding. The goal of the capital campaign is to quadruple the number of people we’ll be able to serve in 12 years. Ambitious goals, but we’re excited about it and we’re up for the challenge.”

PARK CITY, UT – May 9, 2017: National Ability Center Equestrian Program (Photo by Don Cook)

5. The folks at NAC love their jobs.

“When people ask me how I am liking it, I say it doesn’t feel like a job,” says Tanya. “I can see the impact we have on participants. It’s incredible to be witness to on a day-to-day basis.” Of course, an office located on a 26-acre ranch by Round Valley where walking meetings are the norm doesn’t hurt either.

6. And the NAC team loves the local community, too.

“We are indebted to the community for their ongoing support. We hope that we can continue to be a driving force within the community of inclusion and education about different abilities so that we can all learn that it’s the person that comes first, not their ability, and that we treat people with dignity, kindness, and compassion. We’re a better community for it.”

To support the NAC, mark March 1-3 of 2018 on your calendars for the organization’s annual fundraising extravaganza, Red White and Snow. You can also support NAC’s efforts anytime by volunteering or with a contribution or sponsorship. 

And don’t forget about the opportunity to help on November 10th of this year during Live PC Give PC, Park City’s 24-hour effort to raise $2 million to support our local nonprofits.

After every sale, I make a donation to a deserving nonprofit selected by my client. Nonprofit Spotlight highlights the recipients of these donations. My tradition of giving fits into the larger charitable mission of the nonprofit Sotheby’s Cares, wherein Summit Sotheby’s International Realty’s sales associates routinely give to worthy causes. In 2016, we donated $70,000 to many organizations, including The Park City Foundation, the Mountain Trails Foundation, KPCW, Summit Land Conservancy, and PC Reads. Our contributions to date for 2017 have surpassed $103,000.

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