Ability Center announces new hire | ParkRecord.com

Ability Center announces new hire

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff

After a three-month search, the National Ability Center (NAC), the foundation known best for its expertise in training paralympians and parathletes, announced this week that the NAC board members had hired Scott Lyttle as its new development director.

Just days into his new job, Lyttle, a skier and competitive runner, is finding his bearings quickly in Park City. His love of the outdoors and experience on the East Coast groomed him well for the position. Before accepting his appointment at the National Ability Center, he worked remotely in Philadelphia as a major gifts manager for one of Park City’s largest and most notable organizations: The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).

"That’s how I became familiar with Park City the offices (for the USSA) are here so I came here a lot I just really enjoyed the town and this job," he explains. "I used to run the trails behind the ranch (in Round Valley) and saw the sign for the National Ability Center and kind of looked at their Web site and became familiar with their organization and saw they were looking for a development director."

Lyttle succeeds Lauren Rayner, who, after two years, left the Ability Center development office with plans to start a business of her own. The responsibilities of the position include overseeing fundraising operations, working with public relations, outreach and special events like the center’s annual A Starry Night benefit.

Lyttle decided to relocate after seeing the the inner workings of the center including its Hippotherapy program, where specially trained therapists use the motion of a walking horse to stimulate the rider and help them to develop balance, coordination and strength.

"I was completely sold on the place. It was overwhelming. It’s amazing what they do over there," he says. "I think what I like about the center is that it’s a combination of athletics, recreation and working with kids young and old It really struck a chord."

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Since receiving an MBA at Joseph’s University, Lyttle has been a professional fundraiser. Beyond the USSA, he worked with environmental organizations and museums including the Friends of the Wissahickon, a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining 1,800 acres of Philadelphia Fairmount Park and the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia’s natural history museum.

Among the big events Lyttle has helped to promote and manage is the Philadelphia Zoo’s Zoobilee, a decades-old annual benefit which he says served as a million-dollar fundraiser.

"To me, I think the key to fundraising is finding people who are passionate about the organization you’re working with," he says. "For the Ability Center it’s going to also be about getting people out to see what happens (at the ranch and recreation center.) Once you get out there, it’s just an amazing place."

In a press release, Meeche White, chief executive officer and founder of the National Ability Center touts Lyttle’s outlook as among his greatest strengths.

"We are looking forward to having Scott join us with his unique skills and ideas," she says. "He has a great attitude and is a good fit for us at the Ability Center."

Ryan Jensen, the center’s outreach manager and spokesman echoed White’s sentiments.

"To work in nonprofits, you have to feel a need to help the people you serve," he says. "Scott has a good grasp of the people in the community and that’s probably what helped him get the position."

Upcoming National Ability Center Programs

The National Ability Center hosts programs for people of all abilities. Among the programs offered this summer by reservation or enrollment are*:

Adventure Learning

A "learn by doing" custom program that lasts from two hours to two weeks for groups of six or more. The program may include the low-challenge course, high-challenge course or the indoor climbing wall.

Archery

For individuals ages seven and up of all abilities, the recreation center and ranch teach beginning and advanced archers.

Climbing Wall

For individuals ages five and up of all abilities, climbing instruction is available for birthday parties or events.

Canoeing

Canoe on the Jordanelle Rervoir-Rock Cliff Recreation Site by appointment.

Outdoor Education

Families and groups can learn about the outdoors through the Ability Center on trips that include camping, river rafting and local activities.

Waterskiing and Tubing

Waterski or tube on the Jordanelle Reservoir-Hailstone Recreation Site.

*To sign up or book activities, a current National Ability Center Membership is required. Call Jenn Carpenter to register at (435) 200-0987. For more information, visit the National Ability Center Web site at discoverNAC.org.

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