Visually-Impaired Kids Learn To Water Ski Thanks To Oklahoma Nonprofit

NewView Oklahoma spent the day at Lake Tenkiller teaching visually-impaired kids how to waterski.

Friday, July 16th 2021, 5:37 pm


A nonprofit that serves the visually-impaired and blind hit the water Thursday at Lake Tenkiller.

NewView Oklahoma spent the day teaching campers how to waterski.

Waterskiing isn't a sport that cares if you have 20/20 vision - it is all about the joy of standing up, of being out on the water, and of doing something you didn't realize you could do.

"Most of the kids here, they are partially sighted, so they have some vision but not very good acuity," said Dr. Larry Riley, Volunteer NewView Oklahoma. "A lot of it is mind over matter, just being willing to try this stuff."

These campers are learning how to waterski with a nonprofit called NewView Oklahoma. Their mission is all about empowering visually impaired and blind people.

"NewView Oklahoma, we are a nonprofit agency, and our sole purpose is to empower individuals with low vision or blindness to continue living life as safe and as independent as possible," said NewView Oklahoma Occupational Therapy Assistant Terry Rairdon. 

"This is the sixth year of the camp and we have always been able to get campers up out of the water, so they are skiing on two skis," said Riley. 

There is a boom on one side of each boat that helps campers find some leverage, pull themselves up - and then boom, they're flying.

"Then once you get good at that we can put you on a regular ski handle behind this boat," said Riley. 

"There is no coercing the children, it is about having fun. Little steps at a time, just getting them in the water, getting confident in the water and playing in the water and then if they would like to have a go then everyone is here to help them," said NewView Volunteer and Coach Alex Leagas. 

Trips like today wouldn't be possible without donations and if you want to help NewView Oklahoma, click here.


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