Synopsis: SkiAbility provides access to the sports of water skiing and wakeboarding for persons with disabilities.
They emphasize the, 'ability,' in disability and aim to remove barriers to summer water activities. SkiAbility is an initiative of Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada, which serves the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec regions of Canada. They accept people with any type or level of disability, of any age, and with any experience level. SkiAbility accepts people with disabilities who want to participate, from people at the novice level, all the way through world class athletes.
The SkiAbility program makes use of a number of forms of adaptive equipment and instruction techniques to ensure that participants succeed. The boats the organization uses are equipped with a ski boom that optimizes both training and learning. Participants can choose, depending upon their ability; sit-skiing, stand-up skiing, wakeboading, or barefoot skiing. Officially, 2009 is SkiAbility's fifth season, although the program began as an ad-hoc one, so it is actually their seventh year in operation.
SkiAbility's objectives are to provide a fun, safe, and successful learning experience for every person with a disability; regardless of their prior watersport experiences. Neither disability nor age are limitations - they simply change the approach the person takes to the sport. SkiAbility Ottawa believes in adapting equipment to the person who is there to ski, not adapting the skier to the equipment.
SkiAbility Ottawa is a Not-for-Profit organization that is driven by volunteers. The organization is independently managed and operated under the SkiAbility Canada umbrella program and Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada. Their funding is achieved through donations, user fees, as well as sponsorship. SkiAbility loves volunteers!
Volunteers for SkiAbility Ottawa
In fact, SkiAbility Ottawa is run entirely by volunteers. They rely on the donations of personal time by numbers of volunteers for the success of the program. The organization is currently seeking people who are interested in volunteering for the program; the statement on their website related to volunteering says:
"We need YOU!
If you ...
are an active person that enjoys outside activities
enjoy assisting persons with a disability and seeing them achieve new goals.
can participate for half, or full days, for at least 3 Saturdays during July and August.
enjoy the fun and comradeship of group activities.
would prefer to help "behind the scenes" with some administration.
are of age 16 years or more. (For ages less than 16, inquire about Assistant Volunteer positions.)
... then we invite YOU to join the fun!
Volunteers do not need skiing or boating skills to be active volunteers. We provide the training, and the participants provide the fun. We encourage participants to also volunteer when practical. Volunteers will have opportunities to ski or board. If you would like to volunteer or would like more information, please send an email to: Volunteers@SkiAbilityOttawa.ca or call Julie Legault at 819-246-5711."
Participation in SkiAbility Ottawa
Anyone with a disability can participate in SkiAbility Ottawa, whether their disability is sensory, physical, or cognitive. Age does not matter, neither does the person's skill level. Examples of persons who can water ski include persons who:
Are Visually Impaired or Blind
Experience Mobility issues such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and spinal cord injuries
Have Autism or developmental disabilities
For more information, email: Program@SkiAbilityOttawa.ca or call Ross at: 613-692-4898. SkiAbility will need the following information if you send an email or leave a message:
Your full name - and the participants full name if you are applying for them
Contact information (all that apply - eg. home and cell phone and emails)
A brief description of the disability
Prior skiing experience if any (include any snow skiing)
Any preferences or other information pertinent to a first assessment
When SkiAbility has received your request they will contact you for a fitting session. A sit-ski cage should, 'fit like a ski boot.' There a some requirements related to the program, these include:
The participant must be able to accept instructions at least at some basic level.
Heavier skiers, over 90 kg, need to be somewhat independent for transfers etc.
The participant should be somewhat comfortable in the water while wearing a flotation device such as a life jacket or ski vest - www.skiabilityottawa.ca