Report Written By: Bill Butler, TRR Susquehanna Valley Chapter Coordinator
As many of you are aware, we host a couple of large kayak training events each year that revolve around teaching and guiding folks who are blind or have low vision. The first is the OuttaSight Guide Leadership Program
(OGLP), where we show experienced kayak instructors how to teach OuttaSight Guiding skills to other boaters in their local chapters. This is essentially our “Train-the-Trainer” program. Each of the graduates of this program receive a TRR endorsement and are expected to teach others how to guide paddlers who are blind or have low vision in a variety of water – lakes, rivers, estuaries, off-shore, and whitewater. This year we had four new graduates:
- Dayne Law (Boise ID)
- Tim Reusser (Boise, ID)
- Nate Sheffer (Susquehanna Valley, PA)
- Mike Warren (Susquehanna Valley, PA)
A couple more students dropped from this event for various reasons, but we got it done nevertheless. What was awesome is that we had several former graduates of the program show up to help support us with the KAOS Adventure Weekend that followed OGLP. Jeannine Meerscheidt, Roy Hargrove (our Chapter Secretary), Chris Brown (our Outreach Coordinator) and Mike Betts came in to flex their instructor muscles, bringing the fun with them.
Add to this awesome mix our OuttaSight Ambassadors, Lonnie Bedwell, Steve Baskis, Raquel Welsh, Mike Murphy, and Carlos Pere, who came to act as role models for our OuttaSight kids and their families, and you get the makings of an incredible event.
Here’s the breakdown of the event:
- 65 total participants, 51 of whom were on the water
- 17 Veterans, 5 of whom are OuttaSight Paddlers
- 5 OuttaSight Kids, supported by 13 family members who paddled with them
- 4 organizations on site helping out in a variety of ways
While this picture doesn’t show everyone who came, it does give you some idea of the scope of the event. There were several paddlers behind the camera, each supported by (or supporting) these five brave kids and their families. Several people were moved to tears at dinner as we discussed how the day went, describing their day as “life changing” and “incredible.”
Lonnie does a headstand in a kayak!