New rowing program expands opportunities for disabled people

Ashland, Ore. – A new program developed by Rogue Rowing in Ashland is getting people off land and onto the water.

The new rowing club offers so much more than a good workout.

Participant Jojo Crane said, “Sometimes I forget everyone else is around and i am just in my own little world. It’s just beautiful.” But for some, it’s a world that can be difficult if you have a disability.

A new “Adaptive Rower” program is giving people with disabilities ranging from blindness to autism and PTSD an escape.

Crane said, “It’s very peaceful, you’re just with one master rower and they are focused on you and you just feel like you’re the only one here.”

The program doesn’t need special equipment, just time to focus on each participant to help keep them motivated.

“It’s given me diversion from some of my physical issues and inspired and motivated me to do a little bit more,” added Crane.

Leah Byers is the organizer of Adaptive Rowing. She said, “We are fortunate enough and challenged enough to actually have 12 new rowers.”

The program makes for happy participants who keep coming back–all while still making each individual feel important.

Crane said, “They’re there to help me, which has made me feel even more special and motivated.”

The program ends in July, but organizers are trying to find a way to help the rowers continue their new sport.

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