It’s full steam ahead for ADEC this year.
ADEC is going for its fifth consecutive win in United Way’s “Great Cardboard Boat Race” with this year’s boat: The Coffee Steamer. (No more spoilers. You’ll need to actually come out to the race, which kicks off at 3 p.m. at LaSalle Bristol on C.R. 17, to see this year’s awesome boat design.)
This year’s theme is a nod to ADEC’s two Gaining Grounds Coffee Houses, located in Goshen and Middlebury. Gaining Grounds was founded in Goshen in 2009 as a way to invite the community into ADEC’s day service locations to see how adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are constantly breaking through barriers.
Just as it is the clients who power ADEC, a client will be powering The Coffee Steamer in the United Way race. For the first time, a client will sit in the boat with a staff member to steer ADEC toward a fifth win.
Tim Nissley, who was placed in community employment nearly five years ago through ADEC, will be in the boat alongside Ashley Martin, ADEC’s art team leader.
The dynamic duo spent a recent evening practicing rowing together in a cardboard boat made for a previous United Way race. Their paddle strokes quickly fell in unison as they navigated the neighborhood pond with grace and ease.
When Tim, who loves basketball and got himself pumped up for the race by watching the Olympics on television, emerged from the boat after practicing, he said he feels confident him and Ashley can pull out another win for ADEC.
ADEC clients have enjoyed decorating The Coffee Steamer, which will feature pictures of ADEC clients along the railing of the boat. Clients at each of ADEC’s five day service locations are also crafting coffee-themed hats out of papier-mâché, which will be worn with pride on the day of the race.
The Coffee Steamer is crafted out of cardboard, liquid nails, paint and polyurethane. Don Wierenga, director of day services and assistive technology, said ADEC has an advantage when it comes to cardboard boat races because the agency is skilled in taking limited resources and doing great things.
“It’s really no different than what we do with our other resources,” Don said. “Whatever we’re given, we’ll make the most out of it. We’ll figure out how we can make the best boat out of it.”