Courage Center hosts water ski outings for disabled - New York News

Courage Center hosts water ski outings for disabled

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SHOREVIEW, Minn. (KMSP) -

Every Wednesday night, a small crowd gathers on northeast end of Lake Owasso. On Wednesday, 23-year-old Christy Kierstead is one of the first to get in the water.

Kierstead arrived to the lake in her wheelchair and would never be able to water ski if it were not for the Courage Center and group of volunteers assisting on Wednesday nights. Through the program anyone -- regardless of their disability -- can learn to ski.

"For us to come here it's the only place we can do this," says Marvin Haara. "My kids they just love it -- our daughter screams and hollers."

Haara and his family drive 60 miles from Hutchinson. He hopes someday the Courage Center will be able to expand to other lakes.

"We don't mind driving as long as it's such a pleasure to them."

Coordinating this program is impressive to watch. Kristi Younquest from the Courage Center organizes dozens of volunteers who include people standing in the water helping skiers launch, volunteers who brought their boats to pull the skiers and also help spot them, plus so called "jumpers" ready to jump in a help a skier should they take a spill.

"Until I wiped out, and then I was like, end the speed," says Kierstead. Her smile got even bigger after she fell into the water.

Steve Gallop is one of many volunteers who live on Lake Owasso and continue to help year after year. He used to be an official with the national ski association and started helping kids from the Courage Center learn to ski 30 years ago when the program launched.

"It's just fun. It's a riot," says Gallop. "The looks on their faces, it's just some way to me giving back to water skiing."

Learn more about the Courage Center's activity offerings: http://www.couragecenter.org/PreviewPages/water_sports.aspx

 

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