Equipment Loan of the Keweenaw Helps Keep the Disabled Community Active in the Winter

Keweenaw Peninsula residents are very active all year round. And hitting the trails is always a major part of recreation. For some though getting out and into a pair of ski can be challenging. This month Equipment Loan Keweenaw or ELK for short, are training outdoor enthusiast with disabilities, how to use adaptive sit skis.

“A lot of the feedback we’re getting from these adaptive athletes is that they are getting outside, for the first time. For some of them ever. And it’s really hard to use a wheelchair in the snow. And there is so much that our community has to offer, as far as recreational opportunities. And up until now, it’s been, limited. So by providing sit skis, people are getting outside more, and enjoying the trails for the first time. And we’re getting some hand-cycles, so that people can enjoy the trails in the summer too.” – Monica Aho, President, Equipment Loan of the Keweenaw

Sit Skis allow those with disabilities to get out during the winter months. Throughout the year ELK brings adaptive athletes and the community together for various programs such as their adaptive ski program. They also encourage disabled individuals to try out other adaptive sports, like sled hockey, cheelchair biking and basketball and even adaptive swim lessons.

“At the end of last year we probably had, three or four people, and now our group has grown exponentially. We have probably 10 to 15 volunteers on a regular basis, between our sit skiing program, sled hockey. And our adaptive swim lessons, which start tomorrow. And then we’ll have our adaptive track and field meet, in the spring. So, we are looking for more volunteers. And we’ll need lots of help as we continue to grow, and provide opportunities.” – Monica Aho, President, Equipment Loan of the Keweenaw

Equipment Loan Keweenaw began in 2011 with the goal of supporting families and children with disabilities, and loaning medical and recreational equipment. In recent years the group has expanded their recreation events. The next adaptive Sit ski program is next Wednesday at the MTU trail head.

Check out their website or facebook pages to learn more about Equipment Loan of the Keweenaw.

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