ESH Maui participants enjoy adaptive kayaking

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ESH Maui participants paddle through Olowalu.

What better way to enjoy the summer with some sun and paddling? Several of our Easter Seals Hawaii participants in Maui attended an adaptive kayak event last Friday, which was sponsored by Maui’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

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ESH Maui participant Chris is an avid swimmer, but kayaking is a completely new experience for him.

One excited participant, Chris, who is in his mid-20’s, had a blast paddling through beautiful Olowalu. ESH staff member, Veronica encouraged and initiated this fun opportunity for Chris and his fellow participants. His mother, Ruka, said, “I am so proud and happy for what he did and want to share with everybody! Veronica and I hugged and later on, I was almost in tears in happiness. Little things make me happy and the big guy, Chris, tried something new.”

ESH Maui County Manager Roxann Kehus was delighted to hear that participants can take part in water sports during the summer. She said, “I saw a video of Chris using the kayak paddle to power himself across the water. He really seemed to be enjoying himself.” Roxann also added that similar activities like kayaking experience adds some recreation to the adult programs they offer. “While safety is extremely important, it is also very important to look at activities like this with a mindset of ‘how to make it work’ so people can participate. We always want to look at what people can do.”

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Kayak program staff and ESH staff assist participants with securing themselves on the kayaks.

This particular adaptive kayaking program was launched in 2009 and is geared towards children and young adults with disabilities. The Department of Parks and Recreation offers this program to give youth a chance to take part in therapeutic ocean sports. The program provides kayaks, life vests, glove-adapted paddles, specialized straps, side stabilizers and more.

The next adventure for Chris and other participants will be adaptive canoeing. Stay tuned!

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