Funding your sports/recreation habit

Oct 04, 2013
Tagged with: Funding your sports/recreation habit

In my first blog I wrote about sit-water skiing and I mentioned how expensive it is to do.  It’s not just water skiing that is expensive; most sports/recreation equipment and/or training for people with disabilities are expensive.  I didn’t own my hand cycle until I was 25 years old.  It wasn’t like I could run down to Kmart and buy an $80 dollar bike.  I had to spend $1200 for a hand cycle (it was 50% off).  As daunting as the cost of equipment or training may be, it should not stop you from participating in sports or recreation activities.  There are many ways to go about funding your sports/recreation habits.

When I first started skiing, I was able to borrow equipment. Once I got more serious about it, I had to buy my own and had to pay for tournament fees and travelling.  To cover the cost of my skiing habit, I hit up family and friends.  This kind group of people got tapped out pretty quick, so I had to expand my potential funding group.  I put together a simple newsletter, went through the phone book (this was before the internet searching), picked out different businesses and mailed off as many newsletters/donation requests as I could.  I also sent my newsletter to different service groups like Rotary, Elks, and Lions Clubs.  Asking for money is difficult to do, but the worst thing that someone can do is say no. I did this each summer and it helped pay for my trips to National Ski Championships and World Competitions.  My newsletters were before social media, so these days it is even easier to use a web page or a Facebook page to raise money.

kerr3Another great way to fund your habit is by applying for grants.  One of the more prominent grants for individuals with physical disabilities is the Challenged Athletes Foundation. However, there are more grants out there that are specific to females, under 18, veterans, specific disability types and sports, etc.  Applying for grants takes more time and effort- you may have to put together information about your income, write essays, or get a note from your doctor stating your disability.  But grants are worth it since the amount of money you get may pay for equipment or your training in one shot.  You do not have to be a competitive athlete to apply for some grants- you can just be a recreational athlete.

Other things that can be done are car washes and bake sales.  You just have to be creative and motivated to fund raise for yourself because there are so many people who are willing to invest in you!

Here is a list of equipment and training grants:  http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Resources/Athlete-and-Coaching-Support/Non-USOC-Grant-and-Scholarship-Resources

Author: Kerri Vanderbom