Power To Be is always exploring ways to improve and expand the programs we offer. Thanks to meaningful conversations and a generous grant from the BC Rehab Foundation, we were able to build relationships and partnerships with organizations both old and new which in turn has helped us cater to the needs of our participants. Our focus with this application was to build on our adaptability for water-based programming, and it gave us an opportunity to dive deep and explore what tools are out there to make it work. This idea also has an underlying connection and alignment with discussions that were happening around our program recalibration. One of the goals being furthered this year is to expand our progressive models of programming, teaching specific skills to expand and develop our participants comfort and confidence with a certain activity, like kayaking. This equipment we purchased aligns perfectly with progressive kayaking programs and offers the opportunity for people with physical limitations to paddle independently which is something we were not able to offer in the past. The two organizations we purchased the equipment from are Creating Ability and Angle-Oar, unique products moving accessibility in the outdoors forward.
Creating Ability has been a pioneer for getting everyone on the water no matter the perceived challenges. For years we have employed a seat in our voyageur canoes from Creating Ability which adds lateral support for those who are limited with such. This time the seat adaptation we purchased was a seat designed to work with our kayaks. There are many kayaks out there and each have their own pros and cons depending on how they intended to be used. At Prospect Lake we have a fleet of Current Design Solaro’s, both singles and doubles, and they have become the more adaptable kayaks around. This seat adaptation was meant for these kayaks. It can replace the current backrest, offering the extra lateral support while keeping the comfort of the seat in place. One step towards progression and inclusion.
Angle-Oar are relatively new to the scene but are making waves with their range of paddle assist devices. They use frames which are easy to install, and easy to adjust to the kayak you’re using. There are frames and styles for sit-in, and sit-on-top kayaks, and there are two options for the paddles to choose from. The Gamut uses two cleat-like grips to attach any standard kayak paddle to. The Versa has two shortened paddle shafts which attach to a central connector, this connector can be either straight or angled, meaning anyone with a lower range of motion would be able to use this paddle more efficiently. Both paddle options pivot on the frame so the weight is reduced for the paddler. This was the next step towards progression and inclusion.
Thanks to these partnerships we can now look at all the ways we can support our participants on our kayaking programs, whether it’s just for an experience or connection to being on the water, or the chance to build skills to eventually paddle independently from what was seemingly impossible, we couldn’t do what we do without partnerships like these who are exploring ideas and making this world a more inclusive and beautiful place.
This blog was written by one of Power To Be’s awesome Program Facilitators, Paul Blood! Paul grew up connected to nature. Exploring the rolling countryside and tiny villages of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park in England, hiking and camping have always been a passion for him.