https://www.bellyak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/0342-CampPossAbility2017-0324.jpg 1150 2048 Natalie DeRatt https://www.bellyak.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Bellyak_Logo_Orange-e1458584393426-300x208.png Natalie DeRatt2018-04-26 10:35:432018-04-26 11:29:20Summer Camp and the Bellyak: A Perfect Pair
By Lauren E. Harmison
In 2015, I began a summer camp called Camp PossAbility. The camp is a one week adapted summer camp in Martinsville, IN. It serves young adults who are 18 to 35 with physical disabilities, who use a wheelchair, and have a typical high school diploma. We are the only camp exactly like us (that we know of) because we are longer than a retreat weekend, are not sports-only, and serve only adults with high cognitive function.
About our Campers
Most of our campers have physical disabilities that have affected their ability to participate in outdoor activities. At Camp PossAbility we change all of that. Campers participate in everything from canoeing, to bellyaking, swimming, adapted biking, playing sit volleyball, climbing adapted ropes courses, doing adapted climbing towers, ziplining, and more.
Camp PossAbility and the bellyak
One resource we were introduced to early on was the bellyak. A staff member at the outdoor facility that we rent shared an article with me about bellyak and Kyle Morgan. Kyle is a bellyak adaptive-athlete ambassador who was using them. I was very excited about the possibilities and additional adapted opportunities for our campers, so I looked into purchasing our own bellyak. Luckily, we had some sponsors come forward in 2016 to purchase two of them. Our campers loved them and they are now a main activity at the camp. Campers look forward to using them each summer. Several campers have even done fundraising to purchase their own bellyaks because they loved having the feel of freedom on the water!
Mason, a camper who is affected by a spinal cord injury, said:
“I like using the bellyak at Camp PossAbility because I get to be in the water without having to rely on someone for help. I get to be out of my wheelchair and can still move around! Being paralyzed, I was cautious at first about getting on the bellyak, but soon realized they were very stable. The bellyak gave me a good workout maneuvering around on the water. [It] was like I was floating on clouds and I didn’t want to get off.”
This Year at Camp PossAbility
By the time July comes around and camp week begins, Camp PossAbility will own 6 bellyaks and will have completed our mini fleet. We are so excited about the adapted opportunities that our campers get to have. Bellyak is a big part of those!
If you want to find out more about Camp PossAbility, please check out our website: www.camppossability.org. We would love to have more campers and volunteers join our camp TRIBE!
If you want to donate to help support this amazing place, please check out: www.camppossablity.org/donate. Camp PossAbility costs approximately $82,000/year and we have no paid staff, including my CEO position. Campers only pay $450 with their actual costs being $2100/camper. The rest of the funding is raised with donations and grants. We would love to have your support!
Thank you so much! See you on the Water!
Lauren E. Harmison
CEO, Camp PossAbility