Reach, Inspiration and Awe: Day 1 at the No Barriers Summit

Eight hundred inspiring individuals gathered in Park City, Utah, to kick off the first day of the 2015 No Barriers Summit.

A morning VIP hike up Bald Mountain offered the perfect amount of challenge for No Barriers staff, ambassadors and sponsors, who gawked at stunning views of pine tree forests, glistening lakes and rolling clouds from its summit. No Barriers Warrior Margaux Mange set the pace up the mountain, while the mountaineering skills of No Barriers co-founder Erik Weihenmayer and blind adventurer Lonnie Bedwell left the rest of us in the dust.

Innovation Village opened, showcasing cutting-edge adaptive technologies. There are many brilliant inventors and entrepreneurs here — prepare to be inspired! Innovation Village will be open for viewing throughout the Summit.

When it came time for the Opening Ceremony, the gloomy weather didn’t stop us! Drizzling rain let up just in time to welcome Josh Blue to the stage, whose comic powers brought light to topics such as coping with disabilities and the task of raising children. He had the crowd roaring with laughter and used humor to make all participants feel comfortable and at ease.

Jack Weinstein, who is blind in one eye, announced a new pledge from the stage that he would swim a second time from Alcatraz to San Francisco to raise money for No Barriers. His first pledge raised more than $45,000 for our organization!

Keynote speaker Amy Van Dyken-Rouen closed the ceremony with her inspiring story of strength through adversity, repeatedly asking, “Who are you to tell me what I can or can’t do?” Her six Olympic gold medals prove she has not let anything get in the way of her goals. Neither asthma nor a paralyzing ATV accident can stop her.

Throughout the ceremony, John Bramblitt painted live on the stage. When he was finished, his canvas portrayed determined hikers and a glowing sunset: a perfect representation of No Barriers Summit activities and the goals of its participants.

There is much more to come throughout the weekend on our quest to unleash the human spirit! We are so excited for everyone who decided to #SummitWithUs.