Get To Know Our Mission
The National Ability Center empowers individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs.
Who We Are
Founded in 1985, the National Ability Center is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that has united around a collective vision to inspire individual achievement and create a global impact for people of all abilities. A fundamental aspiration of the National Ability Center is to provide high-quality, inclusive programs to individuals and families of all abilities and backgrounds, including those in need. Thanks to the generous support of individual donors, grants from private corporations and foundations, and the community, we have successfully provided scholarships to 100% of those who made a request and continue to keep program fees affordable (program fees account for less than 30% of the total cost of programming).
What We Do
The National Ability Center offers a wide variety of programs both seasonally and year-round. Activities include alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, horseback riding, hippotherapy, indoor rock climbing, swimming, archery, sled hockey, cycling, water-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and challenge course activities.
In each of the last three years, individuals and their families participated in more than 22,500 lessons and outings. Because safety is the first priority, instruction is provided by professional, certified instructors and complemented by trained interns and volunteer assistants. More than 1,000 volunteers contribute over 23,000 hours annually. Many of the instructors and volunteers are also individuals with disabilities and serve as role models for our participants.
Who Can Participate at the National Ability Center
Individuals of all ages and abilities can take part in the National Ability Center’s programs, including those with orthopedic, spinal cord, neuromuscular, visual and hearing impairments, and cognitive and developmental disabilities. Specially-designed equipment is available for many of the activities. Adaptive saddles, adaptive cycles, and customized ski and snowboard equipment, such as bi-skis, mono-skis and outriggers, enable participants to enjoy each activity successfully. In an attempt to eliminate isolation of individuals with disabilities, friends and family members are encouraged to participate alongside athletes and participants.
At the National Ability Center we often find that a participant’s experience is enhanced by the inclusion of friends and family; reinforcing relationships and building a support system that can continue beyond the initial program experience. Though the potential for and method of inclusion varies from program to program, the goal remains the same. Contact our office for information on how you, your family and friends can come enjoy recreation activities together.
Our Core Values
Our vision at the National Ability Center is to inspire individual achievement and create a global impact for people of all abilities. Each day, we strive to ensure that everything we do is guided by that vision, our mission and the following core values.
We deliver honest and consistent actions with respect and commitment to high ethical and responsible business practices.
We use new ideas and methods to improve programs, processes and our organizational model.
We embrace a sense of spirit characterized by empathy and care while fostering a sense of belonging.
We believe in continuous improvement; expecting more than others think is possible and never being satisfied with anything being less than it can be.
We perceive challenges as opportunities for growth that benefit stakeholders and that keep pace with the evolution of our organization, community and global network.
We invest in the development of people, programs and resources. Together we support the sustainability and growth of our organization while nurturing an environment that fosters the ability to live and work with purpose and enjoyment.
How It All Began
We’ve been delivering adaptive sport programs since 1985. Learn more about National Ability Center’s History.
The National Ability Center is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Tax ID #94-3025807