Kayaks are lined up in a row and the lake can be seen in the background.

iKayak Returns This Summer to Genesee County

Developed to provide inclusive and accessible outdoor experiences, iKayak offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to explore the Flint River’s waterways through adaptive kayaking. The program is back for 2023, promising memorable experiences and empowering individuals to connect with nature.

What started as a collaboration between The Disability Network and Kayak Flint, iKayak is a perfect example of the Flint River Watershed Coalition, Genesee County Parks, and KayakFlint’s commitment to inclusivity and ensuring that outdoor recreation is accessible to all. The program offers kayaking and equipment that adapts to various disabilities, including mobility and sensory experiences. These adaptive kayaks, equipped with stability features, comfortable seating, and assistive devices, provide individuals the freedom to navigate the waterways with ease and confidence.

iKayak Guides and Volunteers

What sets iKayak apart is its dedicated, passionate team of trained guides and instructors. These professionals have undergone specialized training to provide personalized support and assistance, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for every participant. Jaime Welch heads up iKayak and leads excursions. Tarah Holliman, recreation therapist at TDN, has worked with Jamie for the last two years and shares that “Jaime Welch is passionate about kayaking; she is passionate about people. She wants people to have the opportunity (to kayak) from all backgrounds.” Whether assisting with transfers or ensuring the proper fitting of adaptive equipment to offering paddling techniques and nature interpretation, the iKayak team goes above and beyond to make each outing memorable.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to sign up for an upcoming training session by KayakFlint.

A group of kayak volunteers are preparing to go out on the lake.

Independence and Exploration

For many, iKayak is a chance to reconnect with nature, experience the thrill of kayaking, and explore the beauty of some of Genesee County’s waterways. The program offers a variety of trips tailored to different skill levels and interests. From tranquil paddles to scenic explorations, iKayak carefully plans each trip for participants’ enjoyment.

Beyond the physical benefits of kayaking, iKayak fosters a sense of empowerment, independence, and social connection among its participants. Engaging in outdoor activities promotes physical well-being, boosts confidence, and nurtures an appreciation for nature. “iKayak is meant to show you that you can. You can do this for your whole life, not just the kayak sessions,” Tarah explained. “iKayak is a starting point for developing the skills, to teach safety, what to do on the water, so you know that you can do it safely and independently.”

Upcoming iKayak Events

Families, individuals, and groups are invited to join this inclusive and accessible outdoor recreation activity. Whether it’s your first time on the water or an annual tradition, iKayak promises an unforgettable experience that empowers, inspires, and connects participants with the Flint River. So, grab your paddle, embrace the adventure, and let iKayak take you on an extraordinary journey of discovery!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the iKayak program, please reach out to Jamie Welch at 810-767-7140 or jwelch@flintriver.org.

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