LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A new camp is being hosted at the Marine Stadium Park, where a special group of people with disabilities will take on the challenge to learn different athletic activities this week.
KCAL9’s Stephanie Simmons stopped by the park Thursday to learn why several campers are taking on this challenge.
“We’re actually here for a three day land meets sea sports camp,” Priti Vaidya of the Casa Colinas Center for Rehabilitation told Simmons. “People with disabilities are invited to try out different sports. We have water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking and paddle boarding.”
The campers use what staff describe as an adaptive water ski, where they sit in a cage with outriggers that are attached to the sides, which help to balance them during a very safe and fun ride.
Camper Alan Wilken was involved in a bicycle accident about two years ago that left him partially paralyzed.
“I came down the mountain too fast I think,” Wilken said. “They found me under a guard rail.”
With the help of the Casa Colinas Center staff, Alan was able to water ski for the first time ever.
“Well, it’s great to be out doing normal activities,” said Wilken. “It was wet, but fun.”
“Alan is great, one of our participants,” Vaidya said. “Our first sailing trip we had to literally pick him up to transfer him. To actually see him being able to walk down the dock and be able to sit and transfer himself, to see that progression is just amazing.”
Vaidya explained that the water is therapeutic for campers and actually is an important element in the rehabilitation process.
“It just gives them the opportunity to do things that they never thought they would do again, or that they never thought they would do period,” said Vaidya.
For many campers, this week allows them to forget about their physical challenges and enjoy some fun in the sun.