Meet Nils Weldy, the first Program Director in the Charlotte, NC program. Involved with the organization since 2013, he originally teamed up with ACEing Autism after meeting ACEing Autism’s founder, Richard Spurling, at a Boston Chamber of Commerce tennis tournament in 2005.
“It really was Richard and his vision of growing the sport that resonated with me,” the dad of three explained. “It’s a sport that can be delivered to all abilities, and when you do it in a way that’s catered to your audience, it can really make a difference.“
Nils met co-founder and Executive Director Richard Spurling back in 2005 and they have stayed in touch ever since. “After I started my own marketing and event business in 2010, I kept Richard in the loop with progress and eventually we partnered up when I created the Queen City Brewers Festival in 2012,”he recalled. “Richard volunteered at the first QCBF and was amazed at how strong the genuine support and interest was in locally produced craft beer. By introducing a community program at an event that celebrated these creative businesses, we found a winning recipe.”
In the Spring of 2014, he officially launched the Charlotte Latin School program where “we really got momentum,” he mentioned. “The Brewers fest served as a great way for volunteers to get involved and help recruit participants, so with all that interest we opened UNCC, then Mooresville and recently at the Myers Park HS.”
When asked the reasons he stayed involved all these years, his response was instantaneous. “My connection is through tennis, I’ve played since I was a kid and this is a unique way to grow the sport,” he smiled. He has even involved his children and has seen how it has taught them life skills. “My kids have been peer mentors, they’ve gone to the special clinics like, and it’s impacted them, it’s taught them leadership and empathy,” he said proudly.
In addition to helping launch several programs and impacting families in his community, Nils has also helped coordinate and get exposure for several special clinics at the Delray Beach Open, the Miami Open and the Winston-Salem Open too.
In late 2015, he continued to increase his involvement when he became the Director of Marketing, until 2018. When the Brewers Festival started growing, he transitioned to the Program’s side and became a Regional Program Director. In this role, he helps new and existing Program Directors launch or maintain the quality.
As our discussion turns to his hopes for the company, he is excited by the opportunities. “I’m looking over at programs on the East Coast and still going to the ones in Charlotte, so that’s been fun,” he stated. “There are a lot of opportunities for growth in New England, one priority is getting into schools and if I can help with that, that would be great.”
As we end, Nils leaves us with this message. “I’ve been affected in a lot of meaningful ways by ACEing Autism and I’m proud to have contributed to the organization’s quality and accessibility. There is a vast population we can positively impact. It’s such a valuable outlet for anyone who is involved with it.”