A Volunteer Experience

Thank you all SO much for your encouraging comments on my last post about some of the bumps in the road I’ve hit while going back to school.  I can’t tell you how much it means to have support coming from so many different people and places!  I know I’ll go back and re-read your comments for a little boost the next time I get frustrated!

A Volunteer Experience

Part of the application requirements for the physical therapy programs I am looking at is to complete anywhere from 20-100 observation or volunteer hours (depending on the school) in a physical therapy setting.

One of the things I’m particularly interested in doing once I am a physical therapist (or sooner) is working with an adaptive sports program, so while I was doing observation hours at Gaylord Hospital I spoke with their Sports Association program manager and decided that as part of my observation/ volunteer hours I’d volunteer at a triathlon they had athletes participating in!

The event was the Madison Triathlon two weeks ago in Madison, Connecticut.  I arrived on-site to help the Sports Association group set up and I manned their own race packet & volunteer shirt pickup area which was great because I got to meet each of the 8 athletes and the other volunteers as they arrived.

Madison Triathlon Beach

The athletes had all been training through the summer with their assigned guides and for most of them this was going to be their first triathlon!

Gaylord Triathlon Group

Pre-race athlete & volunteer photo!

Since the para-triathletes were starting 15 minutes before the rest of the participants we made our way down to the water and made sure everyone was transferred in and ready to go!  (I was handed a camera and was the group videographer for the rest of the event!)

Madison Triathlon Swim Start

Para-triathletes & guides ready for the swim start!

Although there was a bit of a current everyone made it through the swim in good shape – one amputee participant even beat his guide out of the water by several minutes!

As the athletes came out of the water they transferred to their bikes (some hand bikes, some regular)…

Gaylord Hand Bikes…and then they finished up with a 3 mile run!  (Some ran, some used push rim chairs.)

It was amazing to stand by the finish line and capture each of these athletes crossing the finish line on video.

Volunteering at this event with the para-triathletes was such a great reminder of why I want to become a physical therapist and the difference I hope to be able to make in peoples lives once I am!  I’m really looking forward to working with this amazing team again at future events!

**I did not include many pictures in this post because I don’t want to share anyone’s pictures on my personal blog without their permission, however there is a great album of pictures from the event on the Gaylord Hospital Sports Association Facebook Page that I encourage you to check out!   There was also a New Haven Register Article written about the athletes that participated in the event!

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9 thoughts on “A Volunteer Experience

  1. This sounds like such an amazing experience! Congratulations to all those athletes who competed and finished the triatholon! Forget thinking about our comments when you get frustrated, just think of this! 🙂

  2. That sounds so cool! I’m always amazed by the amputees. A colleague told me I should be prepared to lose it when an amputee blows by me with something moving on their outfit in the final miles at Marine Corps.

  3. Pingback: A Battle Won, A Disney Day & A Volunteer Weekend | Live, Run, Grow

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