Geoffrey George has had the most successful experience kayaking in the GMAS adaptive program. His mom Elizabeth shares how the experience really opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him and his family to enjoy the outdoors safely and with joy.
We are a multigenerational home which includes Gma (Louise), Gpa (Rick), Geoffrey, Xander (little brother), mom (Elizabeth) and Dad (Geoff). We live in Waterbury Center with our chickens and dog Yoga. We relocated to Waterbury Center in 2022 hoping to increase everyone’s quality of life while balancing all our needs.
Geoffrey is autistic and has some motor planning challenges effecting his mobility and stability. My parents also are medically fragile with mobility and balance challenges.
As a family we face challenges finding a balance between engaging in quality of life enhancing activities that are safe and accessible and engaging in the community.
We’ve found enjoying Vermont’s nature and the adaptive kayaking program to be a wonderful balance to bring joy. We first heard about the Green Mountain Adaptive Sports program from another parent, but quickly was referred again and again by teachers, specialists and community members.
Geoff just completed his second season and we saw such gains cross motor planning, increased confidence and even wanted to share the experience with family.
This season’s weather was challenging to say the least, but Geoffrey actually loves the rain. One day we got a rare treat rain with no thunder so he went out and loved every minute. I’m pretty sure that was the longest he had stayed out, just enjoying the sensory experience of rain in a kayak. He also saw another participant trying a wet exit challenge and thought that looked extremely fun. He gave it a try and was so excited he came home to tell everyone what had happened at Kayaking.
Because Geoffrey told his grandparents how much he loved going and asked them to join, we talked with Cathy Webster to see if that was a real option for them. She is so wonderful and said yes! She is helping create two kayaks we can use to take Geoffrey and his grandparents using stabilizers, and the Angle Oar, an adaptive paddle system needed for both Geoffrey and Gma. The hope is to get everyone out more next season, two at a time.
The GMAS Adaptive Kayaking program and Cathy’s help really meant the difference between accessing this sport or not for both my parents and Geoffrey.
I’m thinking about signing Geoffrey up for adaptive skiing this season. It’s really opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him to enjoy the outdoors safely and with joy! We are so thankful for all the volunteers and experts that give their time to help families like ours.
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