As we bid farewell to the remarkable year that was 2023, we are thrilled to share with you the top 23 moments that defined our journey. From overcoming personal challenges to achieving extraordinary milestones, it has truly been a year of triumph, resilience, and community spirit.
Top 23 Moments of 2023
As we delve into the incredible moments that defined the High Fives Foundation’s journey in 2023, it’s my pleasure to offer you a unique perspective – one straight from the heart of our founder, Roy. Through Roy’s eyes, we gain intimate insight into the triumphs, challenges, and profound connections that have shaped the past year. This blog is more than a mere recounting of events; it’s a personal reflection, a narrative spun with the threads of passion, dedication, and the indomitable spirit that defines the High Fives Foundation. So, let’s embark on this journey together, guided by Roy’s perspective, as we celebrate a year filled with resilience, growth, and community.
1. “Full Circle” Premiere: The year kicked off with the premiere of “Full Circle,” a powerful story of post-traumatic growth featuring the incredible Trevor Kennison. This film, showcased across North America, highlighted the indomitable spirit that defines the High Fives Foundation.
2. Alive Day Celebration: April marked the celebration of my 17th Alive Day, a significant milestone in my journey. This moment allowed reflection on personal growth and the unwavering support of the High Fives community.
3. Sierra Vista Bike Park Trails: Through collaborative efforts, we successfully opened a three new adaptive mountain bike trails at the Sierra Vista Bike Park. These trails stand as a testament to our commitment to accessible outdoor activities for everyone.
4. Gunnar’s 4th Birthday: A heartwarming celebration as my son, Gunnar, turned 4 years old. His joy and resilience inspire us every day, reminding us of the true meaning of family and community.
5. “Blink of an Eye” Podcast: A momentous occasion as I joined Louise Phipps Senft on the “Blink of an Eye” podcast, sharing insights and stories of our journey with a broader audience.
6. Open Pro of Adaptive Surfing in Costa Rica: Our journey took us to Costa Rica to compete in the Open Pro of Adaptive Surfing, an experience that showcased the power of determination and inclusivity in sports.
7. Satire Series Launch: The launch of our Satire Series brought humor and awareness to day-to-day life with a spinal cord injury. An entertaining yet informative venture that resonated with our community.
8. “Community in Conversation” Dinners: Hosting beautiful dinners in Vail, Colorado, and New York City brought our community together for meaningful conversations, fostering connections and shared experiences.
9. High Fives Foundation-Wrapped NASCAR Truck: A dream came true as NASCAR driver Jack Wood raced in a High Fives Foundation-wrapped truck. This collaboration brought our message to a broader audience.
10. Birdcall Sandwich Collaboration: Our sandwich collaboration with Birdcall raised over $7,000 for the High Fives Foundation, proving that even the simplest acts can make a significant impact.
11. Collaboration with Dixxon Flannel and Make-A-Wish: In a serendipitous moment, we collaborated with Dixxon Flannel alongside the Make-A-Wish Foundation, creating a meaningful partnership that transcends boundaries.
12. 100th Adaptive Sports Camp: Return to Dirt: A milestone achievement as we hosted our 100th adaptive sports camp, “Return to Dirt” in Colorado, providing transformative experiences for participants.
13. Waco Surf: Returning to Waco Surf for the third time with 17 High Fives athletes, we scored the best waves ever, reinforcing the spirit of adventure and camaraderie.
14. High Fives Foundation Team Growth: Our dedicated team at High Fives headquarters expanded to 16 qualified individuals, each contributing to our mission with passion and expertise.
15. ISA Para Surfing History: My love, Alana Nichols, made history by receiving the first Perfect 10 score in ISA Para Surfing. A testament to the skill and determination of our athletes.
16. High Fives Headquarters Expansion: We expanded High Fives headquarters from 6,000 to 10,000 square feet, thanks to LevRack, providing us with top-notch storage solutions for our growing initiatives.
17. 715 High Fives Athletes: The High Fives family grew to 715 athletes, each embodying the spirit of resilience and courage that defines our community.
18. Skye Walker’s Mural and Product Line: Artist Skye Walker designed an incredible mural for the C.R. Johnson Healing Center, evolving into a product line that celebrates art and healing.
19. The Good Stuff Podcast: A meaningful conversation unfolded on The Good Stuff podcast with host Jacob Schick, the first veteran participant of our Military to the Mountain program.
20. Partnership with MasterCraft Boat Company: We announced our partnership with MasterCraft Boat Company as the official towboat partner, enhancing our commitment to water-based adaptive sports.
21. 1,000 High Fives Athlete Participants: A significant milestone as we welcomed over 1,000 High Fives athlete participants at adaptive sports camps since our establishment.
22. Largest Silver Tie Gala Ever: Our Silver Tie Gala reached new heights with nearly 500 attendees. The highlight was surprising High Fives athlete Austin Price with his own Harley Davidson motorcycle, a moment of pure joy and gratitude.
23. Record-Breaking Fundraiser: The Last High Five: In a spectacular finish to the year, we broke our fundraising record at The Last High Five, raising over $565,000 in support of High Fives athletes.
As we reflect on these 23 remarkable moments, I am filled with gratitude for the unwavering support of our community. The High Fives Foundation’s journey in 2023 has been nothing short of extraordinary, and we look forward to continuing our mission of empowering and supporting individuals through adaptive sports. Thank you for being an integral part of our story. Here’s to more triumphs, growth, and high fives in the years to come!