Inclusivity Celebrated at Opportunity Enterprises’ Dedication of New Accessible Canoe/Kayak Launch
Lake Eliza, Valparaiso, IN – The weather August 15 was no match for the celebration Opportunity Enterprises (OE) held for their newly installed accessible canoe and kayak launch at their Lake Eliza property.
Though it rained for most of the day, the sun made an appearance long enough for OE to host an intimate group of employees, individuals served by OE, and the generous project funders as the organization dedicated the new launch. The project, designed for individuals who use wheelchairs or have other mobility challenges, will provide many people from around Northwest Indiana with access to water recreation for the first time.
Neil Samahon, president and CEO of OE, welcomed guests and spoke passionately about the importance of making water recreation accessible to people of all abilities. He also thanked Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation, John and Ann Barney Foundation, and Marc and Kathleen Smith for making this opportunity possible for so many people.
Walter Lenckos, senior director of respite operations for OE, also took the opportunity to speak to the enthusiastic group. He said, “An accessible kayak launch was an idea that OE had for a while, and this idea became real because of generous funders who believe in OE’s mission of creating inclusive and equitable opportunities for people of all abilities.”
The goal for the launch is to be used by more people than just the individuals served by OE. The organization is hoping the launch will be used by neighbors who live near the property, by kayak clubs, veteran and school groups. The launch was funded and installed to include anyone who wants access to water for learning or enjoyment.
The canoe/kayak launch ceremony ended with the tradition of a boat dedication by shaking sparkling juice into the waters of Lake Eliza asking for good luck and safe “kayak travels” for users of the launch.