With his mother and grandparents cheering him on from the shore, Cole Ducker made the rounds inner tubing on Clarks Hill Lake on Saturday.
The 8-year-old, who has a mild form of autism, took his turn tubing and riding on adaptive water skis during MCG Health and Champions Made From Adversity's annual Adaptive Water Skiing clinic at Little River Marina.
"He's having a blast," said his mother, Julie Ducker.
The family drove about 80 miles from Kite, Ga., to attend the event, which they heard about at Ducktails Pediatric Therapy in Martinez, where Cole gets treatment.
Ducker said she can relax with her son in the water, knowing he is in good hands.
"It is wonderful for him to have an opportunity to come out here with other kids that have the same problem," she said.
The clinic, under several different names, has been held for about eight years, said Judie Thompson, an event coordinator. It allows adults and children with disabilities to become acquainted with adaptive waterskiing techniques.
"We're all about showing everybody what you can do," Thompson said.
About 150 volunteers, lifeguards and boat drivers from Fort Gordon, medical centers and elsewhere donated their time to help out with the event, which is open to participants of all ages, Thompson said.
Joseph Sconyers, along with his family and friends, pulled skiers on the boat he owns with his sister.
He has volunteered at the clinic for more than two years and said he enjoys giving people with disabilities an opportunity to do something they normally couldn't.
"I just love seeing the kids smile," Sconyers said.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management Agency Dive Team also were available.
Participants also could go for a pontoon boat ride or take a swim in the lake.
Cassie Frick, 18, of Augusta, spent most of the morning skiing and tubing but planned to take a boat ride close to lunchtime.
"I like doing the tubing and skiing," she said. "There are people with you, so you won't fall off."
Cassie and her 20-year-old sister have participated in water activities at the adaptive skiing event for about four years, said Donna Frick, their mother. They plan to return next year.
Frick said it's nice to find an activity that is open to those who have mental disabilities in addition to others with physical handicaps.
"They take such good care of the kids here and the Army support is just awesome," she said "It's just such a comfortable place to be."
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