Adaptive water skiing clinic is a splash with participants

Champions Made From Ad­versity have found a winning formula and have been sticking with it.

On Saturday, for the seventh year, the organization turned the Fort Gordon Recreation Area at Thurmond Lake into a playground on water with its adaptive water skiing clinic. Power­boats towed children and adults on inner tubes and adaptive water skiing equipment, kayaks were available 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’s office manager.

She said 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,” she said.

Ruby Bland, 10, was going from station to station, trying to get in as many rides as possible on the different pieces of equipment.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Ruby, who was at the event for the fourth time.

Laurie Schulman came with her 17-year-old-daughter Carly and husband Steve after learning about the event from a neighbor. She praised the volunteers for their efforts.

“It’s nice to have a special day just for the kids to have fun on the water,” she said.

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,” Hicks said. “I think it’s great.”

Jane Willson, the director of rehab services for the Geor­gia Regents Health System, thought the organization’s alliance with CMFA had been 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.

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