The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Volunteers help physically challenged at Lake Fest

By Kirsten Mahon/nw/multimedia editor

Lake Fest participant Mark Turner water skis on Marine Creek Lake near NW Campus Sept. 7. Lake Fest is an event where disabled people can use adaptive watersports equipment to have a fun day on the water.  Photo by Yesenia Santillan/The Collegian
Lake Fest participant Mark Turner water skis on Marine Creek Lake near NW Campus Sept. 7. Lake Fest is an event where disabled people can use adaptive watersports equipment to have a fun day on the water. Photo by Yesenia Santillan/The Collegian

Every year, two local, nonprofit organizations sponsor an event specially equipped to help physically challenged people participate in watersports at Marine Creek Lake.TCC students joined the public Sept. 7 at the lake behind NW Campus to volunteer and participate in Lake Fest. Turning Point and Metroplex Adaptive Watersports (MAWS) manned the event, providing adaptive water skis, sailboats, tubing floats, hand cycles and other outdoor sporting equipment. Turning Point provides outdoor recreation for disabled persons while MAWS focuses on watersport recreation.Some participants came from as far as Austin. Volunteers included Texas A&M-Commerce students and others from Dallas.TCC students manned the registration table for water skiing, which was done by reservation only.

“There were eight volunteers from TCC,” said Traci Schmedel, NW student development associate, who participated for her second year at the event.

Volunteers assist Courtney Easley into the adaptive water ski.  Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Volunteers assist Courtney Easley into the adaptive water ski. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

Because each person has a different challenge, activities are set up specifically to suit each need and change with every new person. The physical challenges of a participant may change the way the team brings the person into the water or the speed of the activity.

Volunteers and workers can ensure safety when they get familiar with the needs of the rider. When water skiing, riders use an adaptive ski, which lets the participant sit comfortably on the skis as they’re riding so they are comfortable.

“It’s a really great site. They closed the lake down to the public so it makes it better,” MAWS founder Blaine Bridgford said. “It’s safer for all the participants, so it’s the perfect place to do it. And there’s not much going on in the Fort Worth area for adaptive watersports, so it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Also, with a new paved pathway running from the southwest end of the lake past NW Campus, hand cycling has become much easier during the event., Turning Point representative Nance Powers, said.

Courtney Easley sits in an adaptive water ski and is lowered into Marine Creek Lake with the help of a volunteer from Metroplex Adaptive Watersports during Lake Fest near NW Campus Sept. 7.  Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Courtney Easley sits in an adaptive water ski and is lowered into Marine Creek Lake with the help of a volunteer from Metroplex Adaptive Watersports during Lake Fest near NW Campus Sept. 7. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

Over the years, turnout to the event has grown steadily, she said. Turning Point is hosting more events like Lake Fest throughout the fall including camping, fishing, hand cycling and cookouts. MAWS also offers two levels of water skiing clinics in the summer.

Mark Turner was one of the many skiers on Marine Creek Lake.  Photo by Yesenia Santillan/The Collegian
Mark Turner was one of the many skiers on Marine Creek Lake. Photo by Yesenia Santillan/The Collegian

“We’ve come out here twice,” said MAWS volunteer Kevin Bates, who floated in the water with three others to help water skiers in and out of the lake. “This is our first year volunteering.”

Some participants took advantage of sailing on Marine Creek Lake during the fest.  Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Some participants took advantage of sailing on Marine Creek Lake during the fest. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

Volunteers on jet skis also rode behind skiers to ensure their safety. If a skier lost control in the water, a jet-ski volunteer would ride out to help them.

Bates said the event also serves a diverse age population, adding that they helped people from the age of 8 up to age 80 into the water that day.

“They come from all over,” Bates said about the participants. “We’ve had people come from Mineral Wells, some from Houston.”

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