Lexi Dowdall is a WAS volunteer instructor who signed up to participate in the WAS Hustle in 2020. Read about how she became involved with WAS and decided to take on a challenge through the Hustle that changed her career trajectory!
I nervously attended volunteer training sessions for Wasatch Adaptive Sports in December of 2017. I’m very shy and was feeling apprehensive about meeting new people and trying something completely outside my wheelhouse. I’d seen friendly and smiling WAS instructors, students, and volunteers cruising around Snowbird for as long as I could remember and it seemed like a neat way to give back to a mountain and a sport that I love so much.
Super nervous on day 1 of my first volunteer ski lesson
Skiing has given me my career, my passion, my inspiration, my community, my friends, and my sense of self. After hitting age 30, I began to realize how important it was to give back to the community that had literally given me everything. That’s how I found myself enrolled in multiple days of volunteer training with WAS in 2017.
As I began to witness WAS students finding deep joy in their time at Snowbird, it gave me a newfound appreciation of the landscape, the views, being out in nature, and the gift of skiing. To see a student achieve a goal, complete a run, or just revel in the view of jagged snow-capped mountains deepened my own appreciation and gratitude for skiing.
When the world shut down in March of 2020 with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, WAS was forced to adapt. With everyone at home, the organization had to get creative to keep members, donors, students, volunteers, and employees engaged. That’s how the At-Home Hustle came to be and I never expected that the fundraiser would actually change the course of my life…
For the 2020 At-Home Hustle, WAS students, employees, volunteers, and fans logged their mileage doing activities to fundraise for the organization as individuals or teams. By setting goals, keeping each other accountable, staying active, and working to raise funds for an awesome org, the Hustle kept us all in touch and helped a great cause while social distancing and sticking close to home.
To be honest, I am not competitive nor particularly motivated to work out in the summer months because I dislike the heat! So I decided to adapt my 2020 At-Home Hustle fundraiser and rather than setting an ambitious mileage or vertical challenge goal I decided to use my watercolor paints and just paint something on every outing. I sent a painting to anyone who donated to my At-Home Hustle as a small thank you.
I hoped to raise $500 over the course of the 4-week long At-Home Hustle. To my utter disbelief, I raised that much in 5 hours! I’d always wanted to paint and create art, but I’d never made the time for it. The WAS At-Home Hustle changed everything for me. I know the WAS students must face fear when trying something new or scary like skiing and I was pushing myself in a similar way to support the invaluable lessons, programming, and community that WAS works tirelessly to foster.
My ‘shock face’ at the support I received during my At-Home Hustle
I readjusted my fundraising goal to $2,000 and took pleasure in hitting local trails with my painting gear, knowing that every outing was helping WAS reach more students. In the end, I raised over $2,300 dollars with the help of 41 donors in just 3 weeks! Thanks to the WAS At-Home Hustle fundraiser, I found the confidence to open my own online art shop, www.kapowder.com in December of 2020.
If it were not for WAS, I would not have faced my fears, discovered my water coloring affinity nor discovered the confidence I needed to pursue a career as an artist. Through helping others with WAS, and getting uncomfortable, I discovered a wildly different path for my own life while benefiting the wonderful participants in this program. I hope you’ll join me in the 2nd annual 2021 WAS Hustle to change the life of each and every individual or family that shows up on the doorstep of WAS.
This August I won’t be running the farthest or stacking the most vertical but I’ll be creatively approaching the WAS Hustle challenge in the best way I can, knowing that every stroke of my paintbrush improves the life of a WAS member. Now is the time to get thinking! How will you hustle? Get creative. Get uncomfortable. Set a big goal and help countless individuals achieve their own goals with the help of Wasatch Adaptive.
Don’t miss my WAS Hustle action this summer. Follow along on Instagram @kapowder.