Adapted kayaking was started fifteen years ago after a quadriplegic was posed the question, “Can you kayak?” The affirmative answer to that question was the impetus to establish Paddles and Boots. Starting with three boats, sea kayak sponsors and boat fenders many people were introduced to the paddling world. To benefit all our paddlers, outriggers were purchased.
In 2010, Paddles and Boots became a non-profit and is known today as Abilities In Motion.
Abilities In Motion (AIM) is now in its sixth year of creating life-changing opportunities for people of all ages, abilities or special needs. Our adapted paddling programs provide full integration, equipment and teaching style that best meet the paddler’s needs.
Kayaking and canoeing are versatile outdoor recreational activities that encourage physical fitness, nature exploration, and adventure. Participants also enjoy the fresh air and water, and sunshine.
Paddling provides unique opportunities for EVERYONE ~ people of all abilities! We want to help anyone to overcome personal challenges, master new skills, experience the outdoors, or just to enjoy physical activity with fellow paddlers. With water being the ultimate equalizer, canoeing and kayaking are activities that emphasize ability.
In addition to the athletic skills and recreational experiences, our programs also help cultivate social skills that help people of all ages improve their relationships with family, peers, and their community.
We encourage our participants to leave their wheelchair on the shore as they launch into the sport of kayaking and canoeing. Whether disabilities are physical, cognitive, social or emotional, Abilities In Motion provides introductory experiences, training days and skill development opportunities through events and regularly scheduled paddle days.
AIM has dedicated itself to improving the physical and social well-being of people of all abilities through paddling; by improving the health and fitness by challenging one’s physical abilities and endurance; and Improving the quality of life of by providing opportunities for all to actively participate in paddling.
AIM enhances the quality of life of people with disabilities through exceptional outdoor adventure activities that include building social connections, motivation, and self-esteem. By focusing on abilities, not disabilities, our programs enable everyone to experience success both physically and emotionally.
AIM gives people of all abilities the opportunity to discover the challenge, freedom, and renewal found in paddling. Our programs also help build social skills that help people of all ages improve their relationships with family, peers, and their community.
It is our mandate to improve the physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being for people with physical or developmental disabilities through our programs.
We encourage people of all ages and abilities to come kayaking with us. By adapting the environment, equipment or teaching method, we are able to accommodate most people into our programs. Our programs are available to families and friends.
At Abilities In Motion, it is our mission to…
- provide canoeing and kayaking experiences for everyone of all ages and abilities
- provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for individuals by providing recreation and physical activity
- increase awareness of the public to the issues faced by people with disabilities
- facilitate a supportive environment that enriches quality of life and encourages personal development, education, and leadership
- educate communities and raise awareness about individuals with disabilities and the opportunities that exist in the area of adaptive sports and recreation
- promote character development, productive lives, healthy lifestyles and self-sufficiency.
We endeavor to fulfill our mission statement with honesty, integrity and accountability, with which the professionalism and compassion of staff, instructors and volunteers empower our paddlers of all abilities.
The benefits of kayaking for physically or developmentally disabled people are the same as for everyone else – the opportunity to enjoy fresh air, exercise, relaxation, appreciation of the flora, fauna, and the music of the paddle.
The physical benefits include overall health improvement; physical strength and muscle tone; aerobic endurance; motor control and co-ordination; flexibility; core stability and balance; retraining damaged muscles and learning new skills.
Now practically anyone can experience empowerment and engage in rehabilitation, promoting health and well-being to individuals with all abilities.
With an emphasis on safety, instructors are qualified with The Ontario Canoe and Kayaking Association and Paddle Canada. The ratio of paddlers to instructor is kept low, sometimes 1:1 if necessary.
Safety considerations are paramount in all that we do. Other considerations include proper clothing, approved personal flotation devices (life jackets), sun protection, ease of exit from the cockpit, and always paddling with a partner.