My name is Hunter Ridenour, and I’m 24 years old and live in Dickinson, TN. I LOVE to fish! I live and sleep fishing! It’s truly an obsession with me. When it comes to fishing, my mom says I’m like a walking encyclopedia. That’s a good thing, I guess! You see, I have a “disability” that has given me the “ability” to be like this. It’s called aspergers. Aspergers is on the autism spectrum and has affected many of my social and language/communication skills. One out of 150 children is affected with a form of autism. That’s more than any other childhood disorder! I also have dyslexic characteristics. School has really been a challenge for me. Not only have I had to learn how to make friends and to not take everything so literal, but I’ve really had to learn how to deal with bullies.
Before getting involved with USSA, I was very shy and backwards. I had a very hard time making friends and carrying on a conversation – that’s because all I wanted to talk about was fishing. Now I am much more confident, and have quite a few friends. I’ve learned a new sport from one of my friends that I enjoy – bull riding! This makes my mom nervous, but she enjoys watching me ride. I’m not afraid to talk or answer questions, even in front of a group, and I’ve even learned to make better eye contact while doing all this.
USSA has given me many opportunities that have helped me to “grow up,” have fun, meet wonderful people, and do a lot of things my mom and I couldn’t have done on our own. I can’t wait to get a chance to give back and share some of these experiences with others.
“We all face adversity in our life. However, it’s not the adversity, but how we react to it, that will determine the joy and happiness in our life.” – Author Unknown