Albiston Foundation’s 2023 AOEC Wheel Together Retreat

Albiston Foundation’s 2023 AOEC Wheel Together Retreat

April 27, 2024 Off By Hawkeye Johnson

By Kayla Lee

At this years Wheel Together Retreat we brought together 12 adults living with spinal cord injuries(SCI) for a weekend of recreation, education and community building! The impact on attendees was huge and allowed folks to gain independence in a barrier filled environment.

”What I think is so hard about being in this population is many people adopt a mentality of disability. They decide they can’t do things. I want to live a full life and be a good example of how wheelchair users can be just as productive as other members of society. The can do and positive attitude of the attendees have the same goals as me and were willing to share the knowledge of what helped them overcome the challenges that come with SCI.” – Event Participant

2023 Wheel Together Retreat in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Sugarloaf Mountain in the background. Photo by Kayla Lee.

The activities at this retreat included:

  • An adaptive equipment fair where folks were able to try out different bikes and equipment.
  • A transfer clinic to progress knowledge, skills and independence in transferring from chair to adaptive equipment and back. This was big for folks at every level and brought together new techniques and ideas based on what worked well for each individual.
  • Tug of War for some friendly competition and fun in the rain!
  • Waterskiing and paddle sports with Petersen Waterskiing.
  • Adaptive mountain biking.
  • Hiking at a local purpose-built site called Quill Hill.
  • Impactful community and friendship building. The open conversations and connections that came from the weekend were truly magical.
Mountain biking at the 2023 Wheel Together Retreat. Photo by Adaptive Outdoor Education Center.

The most powerful part of the retreat, in our eyes, is that it is intentionally designed for people living with SCI and run by people living with SCI. We’re grateful to our dedicated and inspiring co-hosts who come from Florida, North Carolina and Massachusetts. They demonstrate strength, honesty and inspiration and are all-around incredible people.

Attendees at Petersen Water Skiing where they participated in waterskiing, kayaking,rowing and paddle boarding. Photo by Kayla Lee.

Thank You to the GoHawkeye Foundation for supporting this retreat through your Steve Hodges Memorial Fund! The response from the weekend was positive and empowering. We look forward to continuing to offer the Wheel Together Retreat and provide support to those living with spinal cord injuries.

Thank you,

Kayla Lee – Adaptive Outdoor Education Center