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Wesley Palka

Wesley PalkaPushing Limits in the Outdoors

Born missing my right hand, I was blessed to have amazing parents who always supported my ambitions to adapt to any activity I wanted to participate in. Despite the struggles they must have experienced watching me fall behind, fail over and over, and watching frustration sit in, they never showed it. At age four I started playing baseball, seven started football, and ten started basketball. These teams sports carried me through childhood and high school, teaching me to keep moving, keep adapting, and staying motivated. In college, while managing a full time work and school schedule, I volunteered as a scout for the Houston Astros, coached football at Mater Dei High School, conducted interviews with the nations top football prospects, trying anything to make a career in the field of sports.

Just after my graduation from Cal State Fullerton, I found a much more rewarding cause in the field of sports. I packed up my car and moved to the Fraser Valley in Colorado to work for the National Sports Center for the Disabled. Once I learned how to ski and snowboard, my winters were spent working with children and adults of a wide range of cognitive and physical disabilities, sliding down on snow however they wanted and were capable. My summers ended up bringing the same clientele down Colorado’s gorgeous rivers, up the rocks in beautiful places, out camping, canoeing, and much more.

After Colorado, I wound up back in Orange County, taking over a Youth Program at a climbing gym to help inspire kids to push and find themselves through climbing. While there I started my own adaptive program, working with children missing limbs, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, autism, and other differences. I picked up climbing as an obsession, traveled to Atlanta, GA to compete on the national level myself, spent my time outdoors pushing myself on hard routes and climbing walls in Yosemite and Joshua Tree.

Lately, I’ve had amazing opportunities to give presentations at large events like the CATCH picnic, connect with parents at Helping Hands Foundation get-togethers, and hoping to have many more of these experiences. I really appreciate the ability to share my story and thank you for reading. Feel free to e-mail me at, I also post some of my experiences on Instagram @sendit_shorthanded.