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VCIL Honors Stenger For His Commitment To Equality

August 27, 2013

The co-owner and president of Jay Peak Resort was honored recently for his commitment to providing recreational activities for people with disabilities.

The Vermont Center for Independent Living, a statewide disability rights organization, presented an Access for All Award to Bill Stenger and Jay Peak Resort on Aug. 14. Resort employee John K. Hall, a former VCIL board member, helped present the award and praised Stenger for his vision.

VCIL Civil Rights Manager Kim Brittenham commended Stenger and his staff for their commitment to accessibility. “Thank you, Bill, for working with your contractors and your staff to provide good physical access – and being so accommodating to guests with disabilities who frequent Jay Peak. People have great experiences here and it means a lot to all of us at VCIL.”

When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, the main focus was on jobs and on getting through doors. But, Brittenham noted, 20-plus years later, the focus is shifting to getting out the door and recreating. Brittenham made special mention of the resort’s Pump House Waterpark, which opened in November 2011 and includes lifts that allow people with disabilities to enjoy the Lazy River and hot tubs in the water park.

Stenger said he was delighted and honored to accept the award on behalf of his staff.

“We do take great pride in the fact that every aspect of this resort is becoming more accessible,” he said. “We’re an old place, with a lot of old buildings, and we’re retrofitting a lot of things to overcome architecture of the past. But all of this [resort] has come a long way.”

Stenger said the resort has adaptive equipment to allow paraplegic and quadriplegic skiers to enjoy the fun of downhill skiing, and blind skiers can also access the mountain.

He added, “But I think the water park has probably been the most eye-opening experience for us because we have very good access and we have very important special lifts that get people in and out of the water. It’s very rewarding to see a child or an adult who needs that kind of help experience it.”

Stenger said seeing joy in the faces of people with disabilities who are able to access the resort is very special. “It inspires us to do more, to do better and to keep learning about how to do it better because I think as a society we have much to learn.”

Brittenham said, “VCIL looks forward to our work together as we continue to strive for equality in the Northeast Kingdom – especially as more jobs are created and opportunities increase for people with disabilities in our beautiful state.”