Through a partnership with Outdoors for All and Max Higbee Center, an organization providing community-based recreation opportunities for youth and adults with developmental disabilities in Bellingham, WA, thirty new participants were able to exercise their abilities on the waterways through adaptive kayaking. Many successes were had with new kayakers that day, especially with John Karuza.

“We have been trying to get John on a boat, any kind of boat, for the past 10 years. We tried kayaks, canoes, and even big boats but he never wanted to try until today. He was excited to attend the event and after learning how to paddle hopped right into a kayak.
It was so amazing to see and I could not be happier. You probably could not tell but I was crying behind my sunglasses.”
– Patti Karuza | Mother of John Karuza

We’re not sure what helped John change his mind but it’s great that he was willing to give kayaking a go. After doing a lot of research over the years, even reading sites like for beginners kayaking, John took the plunge and got over his fear. John could not stop smiling and laughing during his experience kayaking with his Max Higbee Center staff member Sadie Holwegner. His laugh was so boisterous and contagious, everyone around him was smiling. Once he returned to shore he was able to share about his first kayak experience including how much fun he had and racing around bouys. It will be interesting to look into blow up kayaks to see whether it would be worth buying one so John could experience this again and again.