Paralympic skier Tyler Carter, 20, Topton, spoke with summer campers at Tri Valley YMCA Fleetwood’s Camp Olympics in celebration of Olympic Day June 26.
“I told them you can do anything you want if you try. If you have a dream, a goal, just keep working at it, just keep trying,” he said. “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. That’s my big message of the day.”
Carter spent the day talking and playing games with the nearly 200 kindergarten through sixth grade campers.
“I’m just having a blast,” said Carter. “It’s just so much fun to hang out here with the kids. This is what I love to do. It’s great.”
His goal is to “inspire them to get out and be active like we’re doing today.”
“I hope to inspire them to live a good life,” he said. “I told them a bit about my story and I’ve been answering their questions.”
Carter, a Hamburg native, was born without a fibula — the bone that connects the knee to the ankle — in his right leg. At age 1, Carter had his right leg amputated from below the knee, according to a Berks-Mont Newspapers article published in February, “Going for gold Topton skier named to U.S. Paralympic Alpine Team.”
He started skiing when he was 8 and later at age 20 earned a spot on the U.S. Paralympic team.
The 2012 Brandywine Heights alumnus placed 27 out of about 50 at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He is currently training for the South Korea 2018 Paralympics.
“It’s always great coming back to my home town area,” said Carter, who returned this summer after six months training in Colorado. To come to schools and speak at local events “is really great for me. It was such an honor for me to represent the U.S. at the Paraylympics, so doing things like this makes it a way for me to give back since I’ve been given so many opportunities.”
Megan Dougherty, Branch Executive Director, Tri Valley YMCA in Fleetwood, explained that four different summer camp programs-- Adventure Camp and the playground programs from Blandon, Fleetwood and Kutztown -- participated in Camp Olympics to celebrate Olympic Day.
“Olympic Day is a national event that’s held all over the country. It’s a way to get the kids outside, keep them active and to spread the Olympic motto,” said Dougherty during the Camp Olympics.
She hopes the campers learn fair play, have the opportunity to be outside and be active, and meet someone who has to really push hard.
“(Tyler Carter) is a perfect example of you can accomplish anything,” she said. “He can show them that they can accomplish anything. Chase your dreams. Work hard and they can accomplish it. Nothing should stop them on the way.”
Camp Olympics included a softball throw, 50-yard dash, three-legged race, basketball competition, Rock Tree Bridge game, water relay and kickball.
Dougherty said in a release, “The Tri Valley YMCA is proud to support the Olympic Movement and encourage children to lead healthy, active lives.”
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