The ability to fly is a dream many people have. Soaring through the air, weightless, forgetting about the troubles of the world, even for a minute, is a wonderful image of freedom for an able-bodied person, and even more so for young people with special needs.
But thanks to iFLY Denver in Lone Tree, nearly a dozen young people with special needs got the chance to take flight on April 29 during the All Abilities Night. iFLY — which has a vertical wind tunnel where people can float on air — partnered with Adam's Camp, a Centennial-based nonprofit organization that provides customized, intensive therapy, family support and recreation in a camp environment.
“When you have a disability, you often find you have to prove you are just as capable as anyone else,” said Lindsay Radford, executive director of Adam's Camp. “We are so impressed with the iFly Team for embracing our campers and recognizing there are no limits.”
The evening was designed for individuals with special physical and cognitive needs to create an environment of support and inclusion while empowering attendees to push past limitations and take flight. The event was open to everyone in the special needs community.
Attendees received a pre-flight training session before donning flight gear, including suit, helmet and goggles. Flight instructors helped each participant based on individual needs, and each flier was given the chance to fly twice, at one minute each flight in the vertical wind tunnel. Each flight was captured on video, which was sent home with participants as a reminder of the experience.
The second annual All Abilities Night wrapped a month-long fundraising effort by iFLY to benefit Adam's Camp.
“Our goal was to elevate awareness for what we do, which is providing a wonderful and inclusive opportunity for people in the special needs community,” said Lynnae Godfrey, general manager of iFLY Denver. “We were so happy to help raise awareness on our partner organization, Adam's Camp, within the iFLY community. For our All Abilities Night and celebratory event, it was great seeing people, friends, family and supporters of the organization take the time to share a unique experience such as taking flight.”
Adam's Camp was founded in 1986, with the intention of providing a variety of intensive, personalized and integrated therapeutic programs for children with special needs and their families. They also offer recreational programs that foster social connections and growth in independence for youth and young adults with special needs. For more information visit www.adamscamp.org.
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