He’s one-of-a-kind in many ways, including service to the community
By Rick Smith ’09; Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Scott LeBlanc ’06 spends most of his time helping others achieve their goals and push their limits to the unimaginable. But that’s only one reason why he is one-of-a-kind.
LeBlanc, who graduated with a Master of Arts in Administration degree from UIW and a Bachelor of Science in recreation administration from Texas State University, is unique in a different way: he is the only person in the United States who holds a license to certify instructors to teach adaptive canoeing and kayaking.
LeBlanc descried adaptive paddling as canoeing and kayaking for those that may have lost partial or total function of their extremities. The canoe or kayak seat and the paddle can be modified to accommodate their functional abilities. “The key, as with all aspects of life, is to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t,” said LeBlanc.
As an Instructor Trainer Educator for the American Canoe Association, he travels around the country annually certifying aspiring instructors wanting to teach adaptive paddling. In that discipline, he is the highest-certified individual in the nation.
“I want to see that I’m making a difference,” said LeBlanc, when asked about his passion for adaptive sports. “I want to make sure that an individual with a disability has the same opportunities as everyone else.”
His work helping people doesn’t stop there though, and that’s what makes him such an extraordinary person.
He continually develops programs to help the community as a whole. In the six years he has served as the assistant director of athletic training facilities at UIW, he has helped to improve the Natatorium, renovate the Campus Recreation facilities at the Wellness Center including the basketball court, yoga/pilates room, lobby and cardio room, and has just finished a large renovation of the weight room this summer.
At UIW, he manages 50-65 student employees, three athletic facilities, and sometimes serves as a guest lecturer or adjunct professor.
To coincide with his work at UIW, he volunteers as the head coach of the Rock’n Red Birds team, UIW’s marathon and half-marathon training team. He coaches them twice a week after work and helps the team, consisting of many first-time runners, reach their weekly goals. Last year, 74 people crossed the finish line for the Rock’n Red Birds.
However, being a nationally-certified instructor educator in his field, having a full-time job, acting as head coach for a marathon team, mentoring young adults in the workplace, and teaching and lecturing courses is not enough for LeBlanc.
He’s also co-author of a book about opportunities for individuals experiencing post traumatic injury. He is involved with numerous organizations and has served on the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council and is the national chair for the Adaptive Paddling Committee for the American Canoe Association. He works with Kinetic Kids, a city-wide sports organization specializing in adaptive sports, which recently won 50 gold medals in a national disabled track and field competition.
On top of all that, he trained for over a year to complete the MS150, a 150-mile bike ride benefiting multiple sclerosis, in a way you wouldn’t expect. He rode a hand bike, peddling only with his hands, so that he could train with three of his friends who couldn’t walk.
“You always get more than you give,” said LeBlanc smiling.
Despite his many commitments, LeBlanc’s most important work is as a father of two boys and a husband of 15 years. “She’s the blessing in my life,” LeBlanc said about his wife, Rosie.
When LeBlanc graduated from Texas State, he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to do something outdoors. He participated in two explorations: one 10-day and one 21-day mission in New Mexico.
While working as a therapeutic recreatiton specialist at St. David’s Rehabilitation Center in Austin, he began volunteering with an adapted sports program to provide physical, social, emotional and cognitive leisure development for children and adults with disabilities.
He then accepted a job at Warm Springs Rehabilitation System in San Antonio as the wheelchair sports coordinator. He worked in that capacity for seven years before coming to UIW in 2004.
“I want to leave this place better than I found it,” said LeBlanc about UIW. “The community feel, the support and the camaraderie is what makes UIW enjoyable.”
If you reflect on UIW’s Mission of service and education, it is simple to see how alumnus Scott LeBlanc is the epitome of that Mission in action. He is a role model for hundreds, probably thousands, of people around the nation.
Other tidbits about Scott: