Inclusive kayaking coming to Flint and Genesee County

FLINT — Inclusive kayaking for people with disabilities is making its way to Flint and Genesee County waterways this summer. The Disability Network (TDN) in partnership with Rocky’s Outdoors and Flint River Watershed Coalition (FRWC) are launching iKayak, a kayaking program that was made possible by an ecotourism micro grant from the I-69 Thumb Region.

“We chose kayaking because of the already established kayaking community in the area and it aligned with the ecotourism grant,” Carrie Gerdeman, Program Director at TDN said. Gerdeman is a certified recreational therapist and teamed up with Jaime Welch of the FWRC to get the program off the ground. Welch is a certified paddle instructor and with the funds from the micro grant, obtained adaptive paddling instructor certification as well.

Participants in the program will learn how to move in and out of a kayak and the necessary skills for adapting a kayak to fit their specific needs. Most of the materials needed to adapt a kayak are inexpensive and readily available at local stores.

The iKayak workshops are scheduled for June 22, July 27 and Aug. 24 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Participants sign up for a 1.25 hour session where they will work with trained volunteers to get fitted in a kayak and have some time on the water.

The next phase of the iKayak program focuses on adaptive paddlers inclusion into existing community kayaking programs and events. “Our hope is to grow the program so that other kayaking events in the area are accessible and inclusive,” Gerdeman said.

Details: Call 810-742-1800. — G.G.

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