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The Challenged Athletes Foundation forms a new partnership to take children sailing

Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 15:58:08-04

The Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Southern Idaho Sailing Outreach have formed a new partnership to take kids with disabilities sailing.

We caught up with the group at Lucky Peak for the second day of a sailing clinic that featured the entire family, this is the first program of its kind in Idaho.

"You are kind of welcomed into this community, the Challenged Athletes Foundation has really become a second family for us we are able to go out and recreate," said Tara McCarty one of the moms. "Certainly the sailing community has really welcomed us over the last couple of days so that has been really fun for him."

With funding from Idaho CAF, the Southern Idaho Sailing Outreach went to train in San Francisco in July at an adaptive clinic to prepare them to take kids out on the water.

We learned that the sailors at the SISO have more than 500 years of combined experience when it comes to sailing.

"I think the really cool thing honestly is you don’t see our kids in their chairs out there," said Jenn Skeesick of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. "They don’t look like they have any type of disability and that is because our coaches have figured out where to position and use the boat in their favor."

Both the kids and their parents couldn't help smile as they sailed around the reservoir and engaged in a water war.

"They are coming off with these giant smiles because these instructors know boats, they know wind and they are experts," said Skeesick. "So it is a really cool formula that has really come together in Idaho of all places."

Tara McCarty watched her son Killian experience something he's never been able to do before and this is the first of many sailing adventures with Idaho CAF and SISO.

"It’s a little different being in a wheelchair you don’t get a lot of wind in your hair moments," said McCarty. "Just being able to see him go out and enjoy the lake like everyone else is probably the best part."

The Challenged Athletes Foundation will hold their final clinic of the summer in September at C.J. Strike Reservoir.