WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — What happens when a man who can’t see uses his passion for the outdoors to teach local young men and women life skills?  You get Blind Inspiration! WWAY’s Daniel Seamans introduces you to our Extraordinary Person of the Week.

“It’s made me want to strive for what I can be,” Que Bowman told Daniel Seamans.

“I’ve moved a lot,” Cameron Nau added.

“I’ve learned how to survive in the wilderness and also how to talk to people,” Shaianne Bowman said of her time with The National Center for Outdoor Adventure and Education. The NCOAE is a non-profit based out of New Hanover County.

Young men and women in our area are learning life skills and inspiration from Zac Adair and his non-profit.
We spoke with six who are in the Education without Doors program.

“How has that changed your life?” Daniel asked Que. “It changed a lot because now I see the world differently.”

Cameron echoed a similar feeling. “I haven’t really had a stable place,” he said, “I do now, I’ve been adopted. Zac and Celine have also given me a place to turn to when I need anything.”

Kristen Winner said, “It built my self confidence, and gave me some skills like leadership skills, communication skills, social skills.”

And Joaly Canseco said, “On the trips we get to talk about a lot of our feelings and be better at communicating with each other and I think that helps with getting anything like anger or anything out, out there in the wilderness and (then you can)come home and focus on school more.”

Shaianne has had a life changing experience with the direction of Zac. “It’s helped a lot,” she said. “They’ve always been there for us and they’ve helped whenever we needed it.”

Jack Canseco has opened up, too. “I’ve met a lot of new people, made new friendships, but also it has made me a little more positive.”

Ironically, the man who helps these teens ‘see’ their potential can’t see.
Zac Adair lost his vision in a traffic accident in 2003. And as a true outdoorsman would do….he adapted.

“I realized I can still do the things that I’ve always done, can’t do it in the same capacity, necessarily,” Zac told at home base on River Road.

Zac and his wife created the national center for outdoor adventure education in New Hanover County.

“This is their incentive,” Zac said of the outdoor adventures they go on. “These kids want to be here, but here’s the thing, you have to want to be an ambassador of yourself and community and NCOAE, ya gotta go to school, if you need help just let us know. We provide an enormous amount of resources for these kids.”

Helping at risk kids is one of many programs run through his non-profit. They do medical training. They teach wilderness survival. They are an outdoor classroom.
And right now ten students are preparing for another life changing experience with Zac.

“The great thing about this is the kids are going to land in Anchorage,” he said, “get on a bush flight, take us into deep wild Alaska, drop us off and in three weeks come back and get us.”

They’ll clear trails, remove bear fences, also clean up a mining site side by side with professionals. They’ll pass along their experiences to others.

“I had a huge shell about not opening up to people,” Que said, “they helped me crack it open.”

Zac Adair, you are opening all kind of doors by not having….doors. And that’s part of the reason you…are…Extraordinary.

The students are currently raising money for the trip to Alaska. A large part of it is paid for through a grant from National Parks Service, but travel expenses are still needed. You can find out more about Zac’s non-profit and also donate to their cause by visiting their website.

Categories: Extraordinary People Next Door, Features, Local, New Hanover

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