Champions Made From Adversity has found a winning formula and has been sticking with it.
On Saturday, for the seventh-consecutive year, the organization played host to its adaptive water skiing clinic, turning the Fort Gordon Recreation Area at Clarks Hill Lake into a playground on water. Powerboats towed children and adults on inner tubes and adaptive water skiing equipment, kayaks were available for use, and an area was set aside for swimming.
“It helps the children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities not be disabled for the day,” said Kelly Garcia, CMFA office manager, who said that 122 people had pre-registered for the event. “Last year we only had 75 participants the day of the event, so this is a huge number for us.”
Garcia added that just having the event makes it a success.
“The faces of our participants who get to do these things, even the return participants you would think it’s their first year the way they get excited,” Garcia said. “They will wait in line for 20 minutes to get in a tube and not care, they are getting in that tube.”
Rich Bland, Augusta Prep’s volleyball coach, said his daughter Ruby gets excited about the event every year, and she was going from station to station trying to get in as many rides as possible.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said the 10-year-old.
Ben Sargent, a 13-year-old Riverside Middle School student definitely had his favorite.
“The raft is the fastest one,” said Sargent. “When you go faster you get more bumps in the air. Always in the need for speed.”
Laurie Schulman was there with her 17-year-old-daughter Carly and husband Steve. They relocated from Maryland after last year’s clinic and were attending their first one.
Close to 150 volunteers helped keep things running smoothly, from those towing riders behind their boats to those assisting with organizational efforts.
Tina Hicks was volunteering for the group for the first time while her special-needs daughter, Naomi, was out of town.
“I’ve been wanting to volunteer, so I just decided to do it while I have some free time or else I would be chasing her around this place,” said Hicks.
“I think it’s great.”
Jane Willson, the GR Health director of rehab services thought the group’s continued alliance with CMFA in putting on the event was a fruitful one.
“We have the equipment and they have the skills and knowledge about the boating and it’s just been a wonderful partnership,” she said.