First day for new boss at National Ability Center |

First day for new boss at National Ability Center

You can tell a lot about a man by how he exits a playground.

Dale Schoon chose the step ladder over the slide Monday and waved a fatherly goodbye to campers after his first day as the National Ability Center’s new CEO

The NAC works with people of all ages and ability levels to provide affordable outdoor sports and recreational opportunities, according to the organization’s mission statement.

With 26 acres, a dozen fulltime staff members, two-dozen horses and more than 50 camp counselors, it is one of the largest and best-known nonprofit organizations in Park City.

Schoon said he has worked a lot of cool jobs over the years, but he couldn’t imagine one more fulfilling than his current assignment. "It’s fun to get moving," he said. "It’s really fun to be here on site."

Schoon, a father of two, said guests can expect a continued high level of service from the National Ability Center, though he admits having a huge legacy to live up to after the departure of founder Meeche White. White is stepping down, officially in September, after 23 years as CEO "For me, it’s all about education and integration," he said. "I don’t look at is as filling her shoes. I look at it as carrying her torch. I’ve always had a passion for making a difference."

Schoon has lived in Park City for nine years. Before that, he lived with his family in South Florida. He spent his first morning as CEO of the Ability Center attending a Starry Night committee meeting in preparation for the Center’s annual fundraiser September 13 and hanging out with athletes who participated in the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that offers services to veterans. "I couldn’t be happier with the reception from the board and the community," he said.

Schoon began the interview process in January and signed on shortly after that. He said he wants to continue to integrate, educate and encourage young people as well as expand the Center’s current reach. "I’m learning everything from how to log onto the computer to working on a huge fundraiser," he laughed.

Although White will no longer be the CEO of the NAC, she plans to continue at the center in an advisory role as Schoon learns the donor base.

Before assuming the day-to-day operations of the center, Schoon was the Associate Athletic Director for The United States Ski and Snowboard Association where he managed finances and some administrative responsibilities.

The National Ability Center is hosting an open house from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday. Schoon will be on hand with Meeche to answer questions. Organizers say the open house includes pony rides, climbing walls, lama rides, ice cream and hot dogs.

Summer Activities at the National Ability Center

Registration is still open for summer camps in water skiing, swimming, sled hockey, horseback riding, indoor rock climbing and other activities at the National Ability Center. For more information and a full list of activities, call 200-0987.

Discovery Camps

For kids and teens ages eight to 18. Camps are designed for campers with physical and cognitives disabilities as well as autism.

Camp Giddy Up

Day camps teaching how to care for horses are offered to youth ages eight to 15.

Adventure Learning

Adventure Learning programs offer retreats that range from two hours to two weeks.


For ages eight and up, participants practice eye-hand coordination.

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