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TRIP REPORT: 2nd Annual KAOS PA Statewide Adventure Weekend

By: Bill Butler – TRR Susquehanna Valley Chapter Coordinator

I wanted to give you a quick trip report on the 2nd Annual KAOS PA Statewide Adventure Weekend held the weekend of August 23-25 in Lancaster, PA. I think that the entire weekend can be summed up in two words: Crocodile Kayak.
WHAT?!?! Crocodile Kayak, you say? Well, a picture is worth a thousands words:

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(Group photo after the event  was over, including our Croco-boater)
This year we ended up with 41 kayakers and one crocodile wrangler on the water, sharing a beautiful day on the water paddling around the islands on the Susquehanna River below Holtwood Dam. This amazingly beautiful area is a hidden gem in Southeastern PA. 


Families arrived on Friday and began training with their squad leaders (U.S. Military Veterans from around the country with vision loss or who are blind) and OuttaSight Guides (trained kayaking Veterans) to learn the skills required to successfully navigate their boats. Our boaters ranged in age from 3 to 78 and brought kayakers from PA, MD, KY, IL, NC, CA, and TX. Two of our squad leaders are totally blind and recently kayaked the Grand Canyon: Travis Fugate and Brian Harris.


Kids and their families saw in these five amazing Squad Leaders that blindness won’t keep you from accomplishing things that you might have believed to be impossible. They saw how to use adaptive technology to visit websites, find information, plan trips, navigate the environment, and just have a bit of fun.

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(Travis showing his boater, Chase, the parts of the kayak while I look on)
The Veterans got just as much out of this event as did the kids – being able to give back to the community by teaching a skill they love to those who are just entering the sport is extremely fulfilling and brings a smile that lingers for days.

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(One of our Squad Leaders with a student following behind, navigating one of the many channels between the islands)


So, if you helped out during this event as a guide, safety boater, squad leader, or one of our family kayakers, I want to say Thanks! You made this event what it was and I look forward to seeing you all again next year!


Click Here to view one of the many albums on the KAOS Facebook Page

5th Annual Veteran’s Kayak Football Tournament is a success!

“Wearing a pair of dark glasses while sitting in a kayak watercraft, Chuck Miller certainly appeared to be a guy soaking up a leisurely afternoon at Willowdale Lake.

“I am having a blast,” said Miller, 62, of Gainesville, Fla., an Army veteran who lost his vision while on active duty at the former Fort McClellan in Alabama.

Miller was among the veterans and active duty military personnel taking part in the Team River Runner Veteran’s Kayak Football event. Held by the North East and Central Ohio Chapter of Team River Runner, the event aims to provide some therapy to veterans who are physically disabled or suffer with post traumatic stress syndrome.?

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TRR Susquehanna Valley teams up with Vision Corps!

Veterans group Susquehanna Valley Team River Runner teamed up with VisionCorps Sunday to give visually impaired future kayakers a taste of freedom on the water.

“Life in a bubble sucks,” Bill Butler, chapter coordinator for the local chapter of River Runner, said referring to the limitations sight impaired people face when taking on activities like kayaking.

Butler, who is a disabled veteran, added, “someone who has a disability has just as much right to take a risk as someone who is able-bodied.”

“As long as you are able to follow command,” Butler describes working with people who can’t see, are missing limbs, suffer spinal injuries or suffer from head injuries.

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12 Team River Runner Veterans Participate in California River Quest!

“The California River Quest today announced that it completed its inaugural event over Memorial Day weekend. The event drew 120 paddlers from nine U.S. states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Vermont and Washington) as well as from Canada and the United Kingdom. Participants ranged in age from 23 to 75 and included a group of 12 wounded veterans from Team River Runner, who paddled the 100-mile course as a relay team. Paddlers’ crafts included kayaks, canoes, surskis, outrigger canoes, standup and prone paddleboards. “

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Spotlight on TRR Chattanooga

Elaine Gossett is Chattanooga’s Therapeutic Recreation Division program coordinator with her mighty assistant Michelle Brickey. Elaine has been facilitating veteran kayaking services since 2014 and has seen more than 600 veterans since its activation.

“We built Team River Runner with support from the city and sponsorship from Tennessee Valley Canoe Club. They’ve been a big help for TRR,” Elaine said.

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TRR Fort Collins X Noonday Collection

The Philanthrocapitalists at “Noonday Collection” jewelry and accessories are creating a legacy of global entrepreneurs. You might think of your next jewelry purchase as simply finding a unique item to accessorize your fashion. But at “Noonday Collection” — the world’s largest fair-trade certified jewelry and accessory company — every piece of jewelry represents an entrepreneur around the globe.

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First Paddle Fest at Lake of Egypt a Success!

“Borth is an Air Force veteran. She was stationed in California, doing structural maintenance on B-52 and KC-135 aircraft, during the Persian Gulf War.

As a young woman, she began to experience lapses in her vision that puzzled her. She became unable to see traffic lights and other little things, she said.

Years later, as her vision deteriorated, she was diagnosed with early onset macular degeneration, a rare condition in which the eye loses light-sensing nerve tissue.

Today she still has some peripheral vision, but her sight is extremely limited.

Yet, she remains an active athlete just as she was in high school, partly thanks to Team River Runner, a national nonprofit that helps veterans and their families enjoy adaptive water sports.

“It feels really good to be with other vets,” Borth said. “We understand each other a little bit. Understand the challenges.” “

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