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:
(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.
(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.
(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!
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