Volunteer Corner: Nick Deffterios | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Nick Deffterios

Interview by Joanna Hartmann of the Sierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunNick Deffterios

I’m an instructor. I teach disabled skiing, adaptive skiing. There are different disabilities, acquired injuries or from birth. We work with all types of disabilities. We fit them for skis, prepare them for what to expect, give them an inside lesson, then go out to the mountain, ride the chairlift, ski our way down … this summer we partnered with the city of Sacramento and put on a water-ski camp, called Wave Camp. They get to participate in all kinds of outdoor sports, hand cycling, scuba diving in swimming pools, all sorts of things they never get to do. Often it’s the first time they’re away from their parents, so it’s a big step.

This will be my fifth year. I was exposed by a neighbor here at a barbecue. I’m retired now. I was a total ski bum. I’m a lifer now [with Disabled USA]. You see a lot of sad things, but it’s really great because they’ve never done this before; to go skiing for the first time.

It changes the lives of so many people. So good to see our kids on the water skiing or on the mountain. They’re not at home playing video games. They’re out living … adaptive means just that, we adapt to every situation. We give them the opportunity to get out on the mountain. It’s something they’ve never done. The wind blowing in their hair on the chairlift. We would probably never notice it. But they do. It’s a total win-win situation. The volunteers win, the students win. We always say we get paid in smiles. Our ski school motto is “If I can do this, I can do anything.” It just changes their life.

The Sun’s Joanna Hartman interviewed Nick Deffterios for “Volunteer Corner.” Please send your suggestions for “Volunteer Corner” to editor@sierrasun.com, subject Volunteer Corner. For more information or volunteer opportunities in the North Shore and Truckee communities, visit http://www.handsontahoe.org. For donations or volunteer opportunities with Disabled Sports USA Far West contact the Truckee office at 581-4161. Or check out the Web site http://www.dsusafw.org for further information.