Indescribable. We simply don't know how else to describe the turn of events at last Saturday's "Day on the Lake" event held at the Vasona Lake & Park that attracted several hundred individuals with disabilities and their families to take advantage of an event developed around accessible water-based activities.
Several hundred people descended on the park and lake and by the time the day was over, some 100 individuals with disabilities had taken advantage of kayaking, outrigger canoeing and sailing. It was truly an amazing display of collaboration and partnership among the various organizations that made this day possible.
Most importantly, the spirit of the dozens of volunteers working on a hot day was simply remarkable. There were even several in-patients currently at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (the host organization) who were taken out on an outing to this event, truly exposing them to all the possibilities for accessible recreational activities that await them.
We met a couple of individuals with spinal cord injuries, one 15+ years and the other 25+ years post injury. For both, this was the first time they had been out in the water and they couldn't stop gushing about their experience. One of them, in describing her feelings and what the day meant to her, had tears running down her cheeks. It's stories like this that were the reason to have an event of this kind, an event that has never been seen in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and beyond.
Another person had driven up three hours from Fresno to participate in this event because there is nothing like it in that area of the state. It's a reminder that there's much work left to do in Northern California to make these activities more available to the disabled population.
The San Jose Firefighters had volunteered to cook all the hot dogs, turkey dogs and veggie burgers which literally ran out. And major kudos to the four groups responsible for the water activities -- Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC), Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS), LGS Recreation/Vasona Boating and Pu Pu 'O Hawaii Outrigger Canoe Club.
The day also had activities for the whole family as well as a number of exhibitors who also played a major role in the execution of the event. Aaron Baker, star of the documentary "Coming to My Senses" was also on hand and was also able to take part in the boating activities. But to reiterate, all the volunteers made this day possible and a big shout out goes to all of them. And truly, for a first-time event, one could not have envisioned an event go as smooth as this one did.
There are far too many people to mention that made this event possible, especially the staff at VMC but we will seriously remiss if we didn't call out VMC's Ann Perkins, Manager of Rehab Relations, who had the vision from nearly a year ago to put on an event of this magnitude. NorCal SCI is grateful to Ann and we were excited to be a part of this event and look forward to the 2019 Day on the Lake at a date to be determined.