My COVID Story – Mathew M.

Adjusting to COVID-19 at Work

By Mathew McCabe

Is your department still open for business during COVID-19? 

Sadly, The Adventures Department at Ascendigo is not currently open for business, although we are working very hard to set ourselves up for success for this upcoming summer camp.

How has the COVID-19 spread affected your department?

On March 14th, Governor Polis passed an executive order closing all Colorado ski resorts. So, at that time we had to close our winter operations for the season and begin contacting families to provide refunds for Spring Break Skiing.

What services are you offering currently?

The Adventures Department is partnering with Outreach to offer Therapeutic Recreation opportunities via telehealth. We also provide year-round consultation and training to the Life Enrichment Department for there therapeutic recreation programs.

What projects are you working on in the midst of all this?

The transition from our Spring Skiing Program to our flagship Summer Camp program, is a daunting transition, to say the least. We need to interview, hire, and onboard a team of 65 individuals. We have many community partners we need to negotiate contracts with. We have equipment and fleet that need to be maintained and repaired, etc. So, in some ways, it is a blessing to have a couple of extra weeks to plan and execute these tasks in preparation for Summer Camp 2020.

Additionally, many of you may not know this, but the Ascendigo Curriculum project also lives under the Adventures umbrella. This is a project that we have been working on for the last ten years, in partnership with some of the brightest minds in the country. To not only capture the unique approach that we take to working with people on the autism spectrum, but also teach this method to other professionals. This includes a suite of products including an e-learning module, in-person training seminars, a unique lesson planning, and data collection system, and much more. We typically work on this project in our free time, after we are done with typical day to day operations. So, this slight reprieve is giving us an opportunity to focus more heavily on the Ascendigo Curriculum. Although we have already trained hundreds of professionals and a few other organizations in this system and methodology; we hope to bring this to a broader audience in 2021. You can expect a few teasers in this calendar year ūüėČ Stay tuned!

Matt McCabePlease list at least one positive thing you can take from this experience.

We live in a crazy world that is obsessed with progress and productivity, at the expense of our personal health and the health of our planet. Although this situation is very tragic and deeply saddening; this is also an opportunity for us to slow down and take a collective breath. To remember the important things in life (health and family), and to practice gratitude. I am also inspired to see studies coming out documenting significant decreases in carbon emissions during these nationwide shutdowns. Essentially, we are being forced into a green, environmentally-conscious movement; and I am hopeful that we embrace some of the qualities on a collective level moving forward. Because the truth is, we are running out of time! Our great-grandchildren our begging us to change our ways immediately. We are here to be stewards of mother earth, and in many ways,  this has been forgotten. Let us move forward in a positive way and remember all the things to be grateful for.

Anything else you’d like to add or let our families know during this time?

I just wanted to remind you all that our summer camp scholarship application is still open until April 3rd. So just a few more days left to apply. In the meantime, please take care of each other, love one another, and enjoy this extra time you have with your loved ones.  We look forward to seeing you soon. Stronger, and more united than ever.

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