The Sanchez family, California natives who were visiting Wyoming for the very first time, partnered with Ryan and TAS to try their hand at canoeing on String Lake and rock climbing at Blacktail Butte in Jackson Hole valley. With Ryan’s support, all four kids were able to paddle and climb in some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. The adventure facilitated not only family bonding, but also confidence building.
Joaquin Sanchez receiving encouragement while climbing
Mother, Jennifer, expresses why this trip was so important to her family.
“We really enjoy giving the kids different experiences, not only to experience nature in a unique way, like up close and personal, but also, having children with disabilities, we never want our older two, Diego and Mateo, to feel like we have to do things differently. We want them to know that just because Joaquin and Sofia have Down syndrome does not mean that we can't do the things other families do.”
Jennifer and her family are no strangers to travel. They’ve seen and experienced more places than most. But there was something unique about their visit to Wyoming.
“I feel like the nature here is grounding,” she says. “It allows my children to really get in touch with their senses – their sense of sound, touch, smell. That’s hard to accomplish inside the confines of a school building, or a house, or a yard with a fence. When we get in touch with nature and allow them to be in the fields, or in the water, or on the mountains, they learn more about themselves and they learn what their abilities are and some of their strengths and maybe some of their areas of need. It's a chance to become more self-aware.”
Sophia Sanchez looking up the climbing wall at Blacktail Butte in Jackson
Ryan explains that Wyoming has that kind of impact on a lot of people.
“Someone with a disability who comes here doesn't have to fight against the preconceptions that they might have back home. The vast open space of Wyoming allows people to take that deep breath and explore themselves, be curious about what they're capable of. When you come to Wyoming, the possibilities are somewhat endless. And what I see in people is that things that used to be obstacles in their lives become opportunities instead. They can be just like anyone else. They can be a part of the world around them, and it's an incredible transformation to see.”