There's no doubt about it: it's been a great year for the National Ability Center. The organization, which recently partnered with Splore to expand their offerings and brokered a 50-year lease with Park City Mountain to build a permanent Mountain Center, just announced even bigger plans for the future. The multi-year growth plan, a.k.a. Campaign for the Future of Possibility, includes major upgrades to the NAC's current campus and was first announced on Friday, Sept. 8 at a Basecamp Rendezvous celebration for friends, families, employees, and loyal supporters.
A solid plan for the future could hardly come at a better time, the NAC is practically bursting at the seams, now growing even faster than after the 2002 Olympics. "We have experienced 96 percent growth over the last five years and currently serve more than 5,500 individuals and provide approximately 34,000 unique experiences each year,” said Gail Barille, chief executive officer of National Ability Center. “As a premier program and education resource for veterans, youth, families, para-athletes and Paralympians from around the world, the National Ability Center is focused on inspiring individual achievement by creating a global impact for people of all abilities." As an adaptive group, they've grown accustomed to making what they have work for them: a climbing wall in the reception area, biking in the hallways, and more. But the Campaign for the Future of Possibility will not only resolve these current capacity challenges, it will also allow them the facilities and infrastructure necessary to keep growing, quadrupling their impact by 2029. Of their ultimate $15 million goal, the NAC has already been pledged $11 million and the staff there is confident that they'll have no trouble acquiring the rest.
At the heart to the growth plan is the construction of key new facilities, including the new permanent Mountain Center at Park City Mountain (granted as part of Vail Resort's Epic Promise) that will allow the NAC to offer programming year-round. To the current NAC campus they'll add a recreation center, a community and programs building where they'll continue to work with local groups like the Kimball Art Center, a greenhouse, cycling track, second lodge equipped for multi-month stays, and an accessible campground (with cabins, yurts, and tents) and a new Outdoor Riding Arena. The plan also includes generous expansions to the current Equestrian Center, Adaptive Cycle Shed, Sensory Garden, and Administrative Building (enhanced welcoming and intake area and an improved indoor climbing wall). "If we build it they will come, and keep coming, and coming, and coming," remarked former NAC board president Mike Kerby while acknowledging long-time partnerships with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the Utah Office of Tourism.
“The National Ability Center is such an important part of not only Park City, but the entire world. They truly are changing lives and I am honored to witness their strength in numbers and will continue to advocate for them during this exciting chapter and beyond,” said Park City Mayor, Mr. Jack Thomas.“I believe happiness is only genuine when shared and this organization is the definition of a fulfilled and complete community."
We couldn't agree more. If you want to get involved with NAC, they're always on the lookout for more volunteers, especially as we gear up for winter.