AAA Canoes

RHS crew members help special needs students experience fun on water

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER Working together to benefit special needs students was the goal of everyone involved in a recent activity on the Rogue River. About 40 Rockford High School (RHS) crew team members gave up part of their summer break to work with about 20 special needs students. RHS students have been giving back through the Rockford Athletes with a Mission of Service (R.A.M.S.) program. The Special Treasures group, which serves area special needs children, has been in existence for about three years. During the 2011-2012 year Special Treasures teamed up with the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) in Rockford to put together athletic clinics for students with any type of special need. The most recent activity was in mid-June and involved coordinating efforts to get the special needs students on the Rogue River. Grace Smith—who has a son, Hayden, in the Special Treasures Group and a daughter, Eva, in crew—thought having a crew event would be fun, as the group has done various other sports such as cross country, volleyball, dance, basketball, bowling, soccer, tennis, track and baseball. “We all thought it would be a fun thing for the kids to do,” Smith said. However, crew team boats are expensive, so using them was not the best option. Melissa Sova, who has a stepson in the SEPAC group, was talking to a client of her salon, Xpress Clips in Rockford, about trying to make the event happen. The client, Mary Wiseman, had the answer. Wiseman, owner of AAA Canoes for the past five years, donated the use of 17 canoes, nine kayaks, and life jackets, and provided eight staff members to make the activity a reality. Each student was in a canoe with two crew team members. There also were lifeguards and spotters mixed in among the group. Grace and Eva Smith both said the event was “exciting” and “a great thing for everyone involved.” “I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community,” said Tori Porter, a sophomore. “We get to introduce kids to a sport that can be a lifelong pastime,” said Justin Adsitt, another crew team member. Wiseman and Sova coordinated the pickup of students in downtown Rockford and the drop-off at 12 Mile […]