I was fortunate to have been invited to exhibit, participate and help organize the 4th No Barriers USA Festival held this year in Miami Florida. It was the first Festival of its kind to combine land and water-based adaptive sports, cutting-edge techniques and technology that enable people with challenges to live as actively as possible.
The Festival took place primarily on the campus of Shake-A-Leg Miami, and also included events on Biscayne Bay, in the Everglades and at the Florida Keys. Over 650 participants were expected to attend. The bulk of participants are paraplegics, amputees, blind people and those with traumatic brain injuries -many of whom are injured veterans returning from the current conflicts.
Erik Weihenmayer, President of the Board of Directors, said the festival will focus on shattering barriers through water-based activities, an incredible science symposium and a host of other special events to show what is possible. Imagine quadriplegics using a puff and sip method to sail independently, arm and leg amputees learning systems for kayaking, paraplegics water skiing, and blind people SCUBA diving.
My exhibit in the Innovation Village gave me the opportunity to meet all manner of incredible people. the goal of Innovation Village was to give developers and end-users the opportunity to exchange knowledge and learn from each other. For me personally, this included dining with Scot Wilson, a blind sailor who has now completed the first half of his voyage around the world.
On Saturday we headed for the International Game & Fish Hall of Fame & Museum, the world’s most comprehensive assemblage of sport fishing information, exhibits and educational sessions on fishing how-to, fishing demos, interactive displays and virtual reality fishing. The centre includes a 60,000 square foot main entrance. You are instantly immersed in an underwater world filled with fish.
I co-led with Lance Glaser on organizing several clinics on fishing. Fishing is one of today’s most popular recreational activities. Fishing also represents one of the most widely accessible sports for people with all manner of abilities. On Friday and Sunday we organized a drift fishing boat for four hours of fishing at sea. The session included adaptive fishing equipment and individual instruction provided by Lance Glaser of Goldon Fishing Expeditions and Lawrence Euteneier of Blind Fishing Boat .Com.