What CAMP really means
July 20th 2016
That is the number of days I wait each year for camp. I spend a year waiting for one week to roll around. It might sound a little crazy waiting all year for one week, but this is always one the best weeks of the year. The week where all you hear is silly camp songs being sung. The sound of golf carts zipping thru the paths. Campers running and yelling, as happy as can be. Zip-line, rope course, swimming, basketball, sitting volleyball, fishing, canoeing, archery and so much more. This is what camp appears to be on the outside. But it really is so much more.
I started attending the Amputee Coalition’s Paddy Rossbach Summer Youth Camp over 12 years ago. While it feels like a lifetime ago, this experience has played an integral part in changing my life. I first came to the camp like many others, as a camper. At the time I did not want to go. I begged my parents not to leave me alone for 3 days with people I had never met before. However, shortly after arriving I realized there was more to this camp. First off almost every single person was an amputee. Being that young it was such a cool experience seeing so many people just like me. It allowed me to be myself. Truly myself, with no fear of judgement from anyone. As the camp progressed and it became time to leave, I realized something else. That we were a family. Not by blood, but something almost as strong (and in some cases even stronger). We are amputees and people with limb-loss. Often we are singled out for being different. But at camp if you have all of your limbs you are different. It is one of the few places that allows us to be exactly who we are. No one will think twice seeing a line of various prosthetic arms and legs by the pool. Or a few guys tearing apart a wheelchair to realign it. It is all just another typical day at camp.
I have continued to return to camp except for 1-2 years where I was off pursuing other things. I honestly had such an incredible time being a camper and meeting so many outstanding people. Making new friends and catching up with old ones. Eventually though, everyone grows up. Maybe not your soul, but in age at least. After I became to old for camp, I realized that I couldn’t just stop going. I wasn’t about to forgot about camp after spending half of my life attending. So I took the next step, and became a counselor. And being a counselor for the last five years. I have gained a whole new perspective. First off I would like to apologize to my past counselors, especially the ones when I was 10-13. Being in charge of young campers is incredibly tiring. They not only wear you out, but try to go off on their own at every opportunity. However, seeing how each individual camper grows and changes throughout the camp is worth every minute. Saying goodbye on the last day and having them tell you it was the best week ever or that they aren’t afraid to show off their “leg” is the most rewarding part of this. I believe it is important to remember where you came from, and give back to the people/ groups that have helped you along the way. True being in a different role is still incredibly fun. I do get to drive a golf cart around after all but I also have the chance to make a difference with the campers just like my counselors did for me. I can show them that there are so many opportunities in life and they can accomplish just about anything if they try.
And that’s what camp really is about. Allowing the campers to be themselves and hopefully make a difference along the way.
Well until my next adventure,
On a personal note
June 12th 2016
Well I was planning on using this post to talk about what I have been up to lately. I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit in the past month and work with an incredible organization, Classroom Champions. And I will talk about that, next week. Maybe it is because I am still a little emotional, but I would like to dedicate this post to a good friend who has left this world way to early.
It seems like everywhere you look there is violence and death in the world. But at the same time it is usually away from home. Maybe oversees, or just a state or 2 away. But rarely in your local community. And when something happens that is close to home, it hits that much harder. I awoke this morning to messages and posts that a close and dear friend passed away. Now I met this person years ago at a ski race camp in Breckinridge, CO. She like me had the dream of making the U.S Adaptive Ski Team and competing in the Paralympics. We instantly became best friends and it just so happens that we picked the same program to train at (The National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, CO). We both would spend our winter’s there training, trying to become the best we could be. Now we both had different work ethics and different ideas of how we would succeed. But we pushed each other, and since we were only a year apart in age, spent most of our time together. We even earned wildcard spots to compete in our first World Cup Races together, just months before the Sochi Paralympics. Unfortunately she was just short of making the team but she still found a positive in everything. She then decided to take a break from skiing and focus on water skiing. Which she was of course incredible at. Always lighting up a room and bringing laughter, Sarah Holm was truly an incredible human.
It breaks my heart that someone so young is gone. And this happens everyday, everywhere around the world. We need to be more conscious of each other. There is too much negativity in the world. Always focusing on one’s self. How can I advance, who do I need to beat out to succeed. Money, money, money…..
Try just taking a minute to breathe. Say hello to someone you see walking down the street. Hold the door for the person behind you. Help a person that is struggling. Think about someone else for a change. If more people showed compassion and respect, we could change the world. Make it a better place to live! And isn’t that what we all want.
Just one more quick story:
I am an athlete mentor for this incredible program Classroom Champions. In working with this program I work with a few school classrooms across the U.S. and create video lessons for the kids on a wide range of topics. One of my favorite lessons that I did was on community, where I challenged my classes to find a way to make a difference in their community. I taught them what it means to help out each other and be active in their local and global community. And when I talked with some of the students about the lesson, I learned how much of a difference they were making. How they started thinking about others, instead of just themselves. And remember these are middle school and elementary school kids. If they can learn how to help others out, don’t you think we can too.
In closing, remember that our life on this world is short. Don’t wait, saying you have plenty of time to visit/ talk with family. Or a friend that you are meaning to reconnect with but just “can’t find the time”. Make time, and remember to make every day matter. What’s that famous saying, “Don’t put off tomorrow, what you can do today.” Don’t wait to make a difference, just go out and do it.
Thank you all,
May GOD Bless you all and this great country
End of season, beginning of summer update
May 2nd 2016
First off it has been way too long since I last posted on here. To be honest, I forgot I had this blog! Oops.
I want to start by thanking everyone that has helped me over the years but especially this season. It was a long winter but a really productive one, so thanks!
For anyone that hasn’t followed my other social media posts, let me update you on this season:-
Huntsman Cup – Park City, UT
2 Silver Medals (2nd Place Finishes)
Empire State Games – Whiteface, NY
2 Gold Medals (1st Place Finishes)
U.S. Adaptive Tech Nationals – Loon, NH
3 Bronze Medals (3rd Place Finishes) and 1 Silver (2nd Place)
I was also able to earn a spot in the World Cup Finals at Aspen, CO and was able to secure some strong results in 2 of the races.
It was overall an excellent season. I had quite a few solid results which translated into an improved International Standing. But most importantly my skiing has really come together over the past 6 months. I put in a lot of time, effort, and hard work and it is finally paying off. The season might be over but I am excited at where I left things and feel confident that next season I will not only pick up from where I ended this year but also improve.
The next 2 years are going to be a bit of a whirlwind. Next year (2017) there is the World Championships in Italy that I’m working to earn a spot at. And right after that will be the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Paralympics. It’s crazy to think that the games are under 2 years away. So with that I intend to spend the next 2 years continuing my hard work and doing everything I can to become the best skier possible. Not the easiest task, but I know I can achieve it.
Well with that I think i’m going to head to the gym and get back to work. There’s always something to do!
Stay tuned for more.
All the best,
“Never ever give up, because you can accomplish anything if you try”
Oh btw, I intend to post more frequently (at least a couple times a month, hopefully once a week).
July 15th 2014
Well things have been pretty wild post-sochi. First off it has been great being back home in Pennsylvania. I do miss the slopes but it is always good to come back to your roots. Basically as soon as I got home (mid April) I started a little speaking tour. Nothing to crazy, but I had the chance to speak at a few schools, special events, and probably the biggest one – the Berks County Community Foundation’s Best of Berks Luncheon. It was a big event with around 400-500 people there. It was great to be able to go and share some of my experiences with them and give some words of wisdom. I still have a long way to go, but I have learned a lot, especially about myself, in the past few months. I have really enjoyed all of the speaking events and I hope to do more in the future. P.S. if you are interested in me coming to speak at an event please contact me! If i’m available I would love to!
So besides my speaking tour I also had the great honor to be able to participate in the 2014 Olympic Day. I went to the Boys and Girls Club in Lancaster and the Tri-Valley YMCA’s Celebration of Olympic Day. It was great for me to be able to go and meet all these great kids and spend the day with them. We talked about the Olympic Spirit and good values. It was such an honor for me to take part in the event. And I look forward to being a part of it in the future!
Well in a few short days I will be flying to Ohio and participating in the Amputee Coalition’s Paddy Rosbach Summer Youth Camp. It is a 5 dayish long camp where amputees ages 11 to 17 come out and spend time together. It is such a great opportunity for them, especially since for most of them it is the only time they get to be with some one like them. I went to camp for years as a camper and I really look forward to coming back as a counselor!
And that about wraps up what’s going on with me right now. Besides all these things going on I am still training and getting ready for this season. I still have my sights sight and goals loaded. Skiing is still my number 1 focus and I am very excited to pick up from where I left off last season. Good things are coming!
Until next time,
April 9th 2014
So where do I start…. First off i’m really bad at updating this blog… I apologize..
Between my crazy schedule and the lack of internet in areas I just forgot about this blog. So I do apologize. But on to the fun stuff.
I have been on a crazy roller coaster ride the past month. It has been incredible. Sochi was amazing! The view, experience, Opening and Closing Ceremonies…. Words can hardly describe it. I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone that has helped me reach my goals. My friends, family, coaches, first instructors, teachers, but most importantly my parents. Without their support I could have never gotten this far. And things are far from over, but more on that in a bit.
So Sochi was amazing. And my race went really well. I went out and put down two of my best Giant Slalom runs ever. And it showed. I was able to move up quite a few spots and finish in 27th place out of about 50 standing male athletes. So I am really happy with how my first trip to the Games went.
When I got home I was hit hard by jet lag. But I had no time to relax. I had about 2 days off and then back to training. Because Nationals was right around the corner. So exactly a week from when I made my trip home we set off for Park City, Utah for U.S. Nationals. Overall the week was not my best skiing. I got a nasty cold right before I left so I was fighting that most of the week. And the snow conditions were not the best. But that’s ski racing. Even with those obstacles I was able to get two 3rd place finishes (one in the GS Noram Race and the other in the Slalom National Race). So I finished 2 out of the 4 races but ended up with 2 Bronze Medals. Not a bad way to end the year. After we got back from Nationals I was home for a few days and then off to Washington.
I went to Washington, D.C. with just about the whole U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Delegation. It was once again such an incredible experience that is hard to describe in words. But I’ll try. So first thing in D.C. was the Best of U.S. Awards. WOW… I have to say if you ever get the opportunity to walk a Red Carpet for any event, do it! It was so much fun walking down the Red Carpet and being around the media. WOW… It was such a great show (at the Legendary Warner Theater). There I got to met some many Olympians including Mikaela Shiffrin and Sage Kotsenburg… Yeah two Olympic Gold Medalists. Whoa… So the next day was arguably the best day of my life and best part of this whole experience; the White House Trip. We got a tour of the White House and eventual we got to meet the President and First Lady. Whoa…. It was such an incredible experience to meet President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. I even got to shake both of their hands!! Whoa..
The rest of the trip was relatively calm with some great classes and speakers talking about everything from education to fundraising. And we got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier at a private screening… If you haven’t seen it you need to, it’s that good.
So now I pretty much wrapped up that last month. I am back in Colorado now packing things up. I leave April 17th to head back to PA. Time to get back to training and figure out my next plans. I have had now about 2 weeks off to relax so it’s about that time to get back in the gym and get ready for next season. I mean I only have 4 years till Korea!!! So far my plan is to move back out here to Winter Park next November and train full-time. And who knows maybe I’ll pick up a Summer Sport too…….
Well that’s it for me. Time to go do something productive, like pack up this box sitting in front of me…
Thank you again to everyone for all of your support. It really does mean a lot to me. And I hope I made you proud and will continue to do that over the rest of my career. I am not slowing down anytime soon! So go TEAM USA!!!
10 Days and Counting!
February 20th 2014
WOOO!!! In about 10 Days I will be on the journey of a lifetime! Headed to Russia to compete in my first Paralympic Games! I am super excited and can’t wait to represent the USA and try to bring home the GOLD!! I officially leave on March 2nd and come back on the 17th.
I just recently got back from Aspen, Colorado where i competed in the US Adaptive Nationals. I was able to manage a 4th place finish in the Super-Combined Event (the event consists of a Super-G Run and a Slalom Run). This was my first actual Super-Combined so I am really happy with my finish.
So I am going to be racing in the Giant Slalom Race in Russia. The race is on March 15th but it will be broadcasted on the 16th on NBC Sports at 4:30am. It will also be streamed live on teamusa.org. Here is the schedule of the coverage http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2014/February/19/NBC-Olympics-announces-television-schedule-for-Sochi-2014-Paralympic-Winter-Games.
As I enter my final days of training before the games I am extremely grateful for all of the support from everyone! I really appreciate it and it helps knowing I have all of you behind me supporting me!
Please check out my Facebook athlete page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tyler-Carter/186930097884?ref=hl) Tyler Carter and my twitter account @tcski2014 for instant updates on what I am up too!
This is going to be an amazing journey and I’m glad you are all coming along for the ride!
I’M GOING TO RUSSIA!!!!!
February 9th 2014
The team is named, and I have the great honor of representing Team USA in the 2014 Paralympics in Russia! I will be racing in the Giant Slalom event. The Paralympics start March 7th and end on the 17th. I am so excited for this amazing opportunity. Thank you so much to everyone that has helped get me to this point!
So I am back in PA for another day before I head back out to Colorado for more racing and training. I came home a week ago and have spent the past 5 days at Camelback Mt. in the Poconos coaching a learn to ski camp. The camp is run by the Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports (which is an amazing program!). We had a great week and everyone had a great time! It was so much fun coaching some younger athletes and see them improve so much!
Tuesday I am headed to Aspen, CO for the US Speed Nationals. I will be racing in the Super-G and Super Combined Races. After that I head back to Winter Park for a few weeks. And then I’m off to Russia!
Thank you again to everyone for your support over this past few years. I could not have done it without you!
LET’S GO TEAM USA!!!!
Happy New Year and some other things!
January 2nd 2014
Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to a great year!
So I am just finishing up racing here in Winter Park. 2 out of 3 races done. And they have been some tough races! Unpredictable conditions and tough courses make for a challenging race. I’ve been getting some decent results. Not doing as well as I would like but I’m working hard and figuring things out. Everything adds up and the end goal for this season is the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. Anything can happen and I’m working hard and trying to make it.
Thank you everyone for your support.
New update soon!
Major Update Time
December 18th 2013
So…. I’ve been super busy. Sorry for the delay on updates but I just got back from 2 weeks of traveling.
Alright so I just got done racing at Copper Mt. I had 6 races in 6 days. The races went extremely well! I skied really well and got some great results! I ended up finishing 5 out of the 6 races (I hooked a gate in the last slalom race in the second run.) So now I’m back to training. We train till Saturday and then off for Christmas! I will be spending the holidays here in Colorado and not home in Pennsylvania. Even though we stop training on Saturday I plan to spend all my extra time working out and figuring things out on the snow. Our next races are on Jan. 1st here in Winter Park. So Happy Holidays to everyone and please check out my twitter and facebook for daily updates of what I’m doing.
Thanks for your support!
Training, Training, Training!
November 23rd 2013
So I am a couple weeks into the season and things are going really well!!! I have been working my butt off training on and off the snow and it’s starting to show.
Form and technique are key in the early season and that’s all I have been focusing on. It’s starting to really come together and I’m really excited with the results.
My first race this season is at Copper Mt. and it’s coming up in just a couple weeks! Time really does fly when you are having fun!
I trained Giant Slalom (my favorite and best event) all last week. There were a few up and down times but overall it was a very productive week and I figured out a lot of things. Today we started training Slalom (not my favorite event) for the first time this season. And I am happy to say it went extremely well. I made a lot of progress and probably skied my best slalom ever. Of course it was just the first day so we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings!
Until I get some internet going at my condo my posts will not be regular. I will however post when I have important news!
On a side note, if you want to help me on my journey to the Paralympics by donating money I would really appreciate it. Ski racing is expensive and I am not currently working (i’m literally training all day). So if you would like to help please either go to my donate page or click on this link -> http://www.crowdrise.com/tylercarte/fundraiser/theimablefoundation1