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Monday, 23 July 2012 20:23

Kayaks and Special Olympics

Written by David Minich
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The t-shirt on a proud mom says it all: “Special Olympics is highly addictive and you may be hooked for Life.”

The men and women of Paddle4Tomorrow have come to understand that the addictive nature of kayak fishing and the addictive nature of getting Special Olympians out on the water go hand in hand. Once you start, it's hard to give up. We understand "Hooked for Life."

On June 12, 2012, Paddle4Tomorrow and Henry County (GA) Special Olympics held their third annual Kayak Field Day at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Center in Locust Grove, Georgia. Much more than a good time was had by all. Lives are changed at this event. Access to the water is provided to athletes and their families, and a window to a new world is opened wide. This is not a figurative notion of lives changed. We have literally seen kids in one year who can not speak or smile come to the next event telling us how much they enjoy it. How can that not change your own life?

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Illustration 1: Zach Yurchuck, Takoda, and Jaime Guadalupe have reason to be all smiles at the third annual Henry County Special Olympics Kayak Field Day.

Paddle4Tomorrow was established by the members of Georgia Kayak Fishing to offer a variety of charitable activities and events for members and their communities. GKF had hosted a Heroes On The Water event at Fort Gordon, has a solid working relationship with the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Benning, and participates annually in the Columbus, GA Midnight Express events to help raise funds for the sight impaired. The relationship between P4T and HCSO is the brainchild of Doug Laverty of Henry County. Doug, a kayak fisherman and Special Olympics supporter, was aware that Georgia Kayak Fishing had established a charitable arm of the club, and presented his ideas to the board and volunteers of GKF/P4T at a December, 2009 brainstorming session. Special Olympics was more than just a good fit - it has become the signature partnership for Paddle4Tomorrow, and the Henry County event will expand to a statewide opportunity in September with a Special Olympics Kayak Invitational on Lake Lanier. For more information, visit Paddle4Tomorrow.org or visit us on Facebook.

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Illustration 2: A Henry County Special Olympian peddles a Hobie Outback at the Third Annual Henry County Special Olympics Kayak Field Day

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Illustration 3: Raymond and Tony Narcisse warm up for the kayak races

Paddle4Tomorrow and Georgia Kayak Fishing are grateful for support from Navionics, Hobie, MTI Adventurewear, The Outside World, Confluence Watersports, Bending Branches, and all of our supporting members.

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:25

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