A Unique Experience

Hello, my name is Megan, and I am a Kinesiology major. As part of my curriculum, I take a course that teaches about adapting physical activities for people currently living with disabilities. As part of this course, I am enrolled in a lab called the Adaptive Paddling Program. For this program, 12 students from my KINE 407 class spent about 16 hours this weekend learning how to adapt kayaks for our 6 participant athletes. These athletes live with a variety of disabilities, and most of them are physical. In two weeks, we, the students, will get to meet our participants and figure out how to adapt a set of kayaks so that they are safe and comfortable for each individual and meets their needs. We will then take them on a kayaking excursion around Morro Bay. This in itself is truly remarkable, and I do not feel that my description does the program justice. But my true moment of empathy came from a simple statement from my instructor at the end of this practice weekend: “for most of these participants, it is their first time on open water.” This amazed me. Living in SLO, outdoor activities are a part of life, and the holistic experience of the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Understanding my position of privilege as an able-bodied individual was a truly important part of my learning this weekend, and I am grateful that I gained this nugget from my course.

-Megan Ruthford

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