Non-Profit Feature

Go Local donates 3% of each issue’s advertising revenue to a local nonprofit organization. This issue supports DREAM Adaptive Recreation


FLATHEAD NONPROFIT HIGHLIGHT: DREAM Adaptive

Q&A with Julie Tickle, Executive Director of DREAM Adaptive Recreation

 Julie Tickle

What is your organization’s mission?

Our mission is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing year-round outdoor recreational opportunities.

Everyone in this diverse world is unique and we are all capable of more than we think

What services and/or programs does your organization provide?

We provide well over 1,000 empowering outdoor recreation programs and individual opportunities year-round. They include: Nordic skiing, alpine skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, and more! Although the focus is on the adaptive athlete, we welcome family and friends to join whenever possible.

Who do you serve in the Flathead Valley?

Our programs serve individuals ages 5 and older with permanent disabilities who could benefit from support by our trained instructors and/or who could benefit from using our fleet of adaptive equipment. We also provide unique programming for active duty service members and veterans with a disability through our military programs.

What’s the backstory? When/why did your organization get started?

DREAM is celebrating 35 years of serving the Flathead Valley this year! It was founded in 1985 by Dottie Maitland, Jane Lopp, Larry Dominick, Dennis Jones, and a small group of locals 5 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act was established. Dottie was running a tour company and an individual came to her distraught; no other tour company would take someone with mobility challenges. Dottie not only took this woman and her family on a wonderful trip through Glacier, she then formed a team (DREAM) that focused on local accessibility issues and advocated for disability rights. One of their first major projects included working with Glacier National Park to establish an accessible trail, the Trail of The Cedars. Around the same time, Dennis Jones started taking individuals with disabilities skiing at Big Mountain. He joined the DREAM team and thus began a well-rounded local movement to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in the outdoor recreation space.

We’ve learned that when people receive access to the resources they really need, they can create change in their lives.

Have the issues/needs in the Flathead changed since you started?

Since its inception 30 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act and subsequent laws have made great strides to get us closer to a more accessible, equal world. Without a doubt, we have made incredible strides to make our public spaces more accessible to people with all types of disabilities. We have seen advancements in education, safety and overall inclusion for people with disabilities. Yet one of the ADA’s stated purposes was to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. We are not there yet, and DREAM is fully committed to advocate for and provide inclusive opportunities for this underserved and deserving population.

What’s something you’ve learned from your work that you wish more people knew?

Someone’s disability doesn’t define them. It’s a part of who they are, just like hair color and height. Everyone in this diverse world is unique and we are all capable of more than we think.

What kinds of assistance/opportunities would help your organization?

We are always in need of volunteer instructors for all our programs. Training is provided and there is not a minimum time commitment once training is completed.

What are some of your main events and/or fundraising efforts?

Our annual fundraising events include a gala-style Snow Ball, March 5, 2021, at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake; the Shred-A-Thon, a vertical challenge at Whitefish Mountain Resort (date TBD for 2021); the Whitefish Community Foundation’s Great Fish Community Challenge; and our late-summer Golf Tournament.

How would you ideally like to affect the Flathead Valley?

Our goal is to continue advocating for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the outdoor recreation space. Outdoor recreation is something to be shared and from it stems many lifelong benefits. We hope to help close the gap so that this deserving population someday has equal access.

How can folks donate to/get involved with your organization?

To get in touch with DREAM Adaptive call 406-862-1817 or visit their website at www.dreamadaptive.org  

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