Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Leave Your Disabilities on Shore! :: College Admissions Essays

Leave Your Disabilities on Shore! A 24-foot Rainbow glides across the sparkling waters of Lake George. As it gradually passes another boat, smiles are exchanged. The crew of the passed boat doesn't notice anything out of the ordinary about the other's crew, but something is different. The sailors are disabled. How can disabled people sail? Just how actively do they participate? Aren't they scared? The Y-Knot sailing program began as an informal group in 1996 and in 1997 grew into an organized program, running sailing clinics all summer long. Y-Knot, which has been run at Lake George's Camp Chingachgook, has given over 100 disabled individuals the chance to sail. The people who participate in the sailing clinics are for the most part physically disabled adults; however, those who do not fit this category are invited to participate, and friends and family are always welcome. The program is organized and run by a board of participants, who work hard to ensure safety and to expand what they believe to be a truly wonderful opportunity for disabled people. To begin with, the sailors are offered "Sailing 101," a course explaining how to operate the craft and the basic aerodynamic and hydrodynamic principles of the sport. Next, and most importantly, safety is ensured. Every sailor wears a life jacket, and adaptive pieces of equipment, such as seat straps and rudder extensions, provide the necessary accommodations. If a person needs help boarding the boat, assistants are available to lift people out of their wheelchairs or simply lend a helping hand. The boat the group is about to board has special safety features: a weighted keel so the boat won't tip, and an outboard motor with enough fuel to safely return to shore, should the unlikely need arise. In addition, ship-to-shore communication is expected to be added this year. These extra safety features help calm the frightened first-time sailor who had likely not expected to ever try the sport. Most importantly, the changes to the boat cannot be noticed by passers-by, so the Y-Knot sailors have fun and normal experiences. Once the sailors are informed and secure aboard, they head out to sea with an experienced instructor. The instructor encourages the sailors to do as they please. Some sailors choose to sit back, relax, and enjoy the refreshing lake breeze blowing against their faces.

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