The Disability Network of Flint to Offer Inclusive Kayaking Workshops this Summer

Think kayaking isn’t for you? Community organizations in Flint and Genesee County are hoping to prove you wrong.

A new collaborative effort called iKayak is being spearheaded by the Flint chapter of The Disability Network (TDN), in partnership with Rocky’s Outdoors and the Flint River Watershed Coalition (FRWC). Three kayaking workshops will be held this summer, specifically aimed at offering those with disabilities the opportunity to learn about and participate in the sport of kayaking.

As part of the non-profit’s mission, TDN “helps remove barriers in the community for people with disabilities and connects them to a world where everyone is valued,” explained Andrea Perani, strategic partnership curator, TDN. The adaptive kayaking clinics will be held at Genesee County Parks Bluegill Boat Launch on Mott Lake on three summer Fridays in 2018: June 22, July 27 and Aug. 24.

“The iKayak workshops will give people with disabilities and their families an introduction to the sport of kayaking,” Perani said. “We hope to get them adapted into a kayak and comfortable enough out on the water that they will eventually be able to transition into the paddles being hosted by the Flint River Watershed Coalition.”

No prior skills are needed to participate. Carrie Gerdeman, certified recreational therapy specialist and Jaime Welch, certified adaptive paddling instructor, will both be on hand to make sure participants have a fun, safe time. They’ll be assisted by volunteers, who had the opportunity to participate in training to learn more about adaptive kayaking and tips and tricks on how they can best assist participants during the community workshops.

Everyone is welcome at the kayaking clinics, regardless of ability.

“All iKayak participants will receive individualized assessment, kayak boat fit and other iKayak swag, and time out on beautiful Mott Lake,” Gerdeman said. In fact, the only requirements participants must meet include being at least 14 years of age and making a nominal donation of twenty dollars. Gerdeman also encouraged participants to “come prepared to have fun.”

Interested in your own iKayak adventure? Sign up for the workshops here.

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Photo credit: Dane

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