What’s Within You Is Stronger Than What’s In Your Way. This is the spirit of No Barriers, a non-profit with the mission to unleash the power of the human spirit. No Barriers was originally founded by Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind summiteer of Mount Everest, and a group of his friends. Erik and his team now run the No Barriers Summit – a 4-day event attended by over 1,000 people with disabilities that come together once a year in beautiful Lake Tahoe, California. The No Barriers Summit is also an incredible time where technology providers and activity companies, such as CBST Adventures, offer technologies and services specifically for disabled individuals with the mission to help expose them to life-changing experiences.
For the past 5 years, CBST Adventures has run what’s known as the Amazing Race for the No Barriers Summit. As part the Amazing Race experience, we create an Amazing Race course with 6 challenge stations for the participants to complete. All of the participants form into teams and then go-through the course oftentimes with fearlessness and excitement. Many of the participants are individuals with disabilities including blindness, deafness, missing limbs, and paralysis or partial paralysis. The challenges are designed to help these individuals see beyond their limitations and to show them what their true potential is, both in outdoor activities and in life.
This year, we had 43 people compete in the Amazing Race and they formed into 6 teams. The 6 Challenge stations at the amazing race included all-terrain wheel chair competitions, rafting games, rock-climbing competitions, and mountain biking activities. All of the experiences incorporated innovative new technologies such as the Action Tracker Wheelchair (an all-terrain wheelchair), Aira Google Glass vision instruments to help the visually impaired, Joelette Mtn Bike cart and Tyrollean Traverse with Litter that enables mountain biking for the disabled, and Rafts that allowed for easy entry through an Easy Chair accessory. Witnessing all the new innovations specifically for the disabled was incredible and it was truly heartwarming to know that there are innovators and entrepreneurs out there trying to empower the disabled population through technology products.
During the event, we had 8 people in wheelchairs and many with lost limbs and sight – all of whom competed in the 6 challenges that we had set up. It was an inspiring sight. In one activity, we had 7 of the 8 people in wheelchairs attempt the rafting challenge, and through the use of the Easy Chair accessory, we were able to transport them into the raft. The people that could see would then spot for the folks who were blind to attempt to throw Bean Bags into the targets while the raft was floating down river. It was truly mesmerizing to witness the teamwork, collaboration, and encouragement amongst each of the teams and individuals.
One especially memorable moment from the race happened when one woman who was a quadriplegic in a wheelchair planned to go rafting but at the sight of the high water, cancelled her activity. You could immediately see she was disappointed with herself for cancelling and for giving in to her fear, which honestly is completely understandable. Over the course of the day, she started watching other individuals and teams with similar physical challenges hop into the rafts and go down the river. After seeing this, she decided right then and there she was not going to let fear stop her and was determined to go down the river in the raft. Very soon after, we put her in a raft and secured her in. She was smiling ear to ear and so were we.
When we came to the end of the rafting ride, tears welled up in her eyes, and in our CEO’s, who rode with her in raft. She shared that she always wanted to go rafting and it was the opportunity made possible by No Barriers and CBST Adventures that made her realize that she could actually do it. In her own words, she saw a life changing ‘Now or never” opportunity and took it. In the true spirit of the No Barriers event, she broke through her barriers and we honestly couldn’t be happier for someone.
If you’d like to learn more about our involvement in the community impact space, check out our Community Impact page here.