February 18, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
I met Mr. Stanley Shedaker of Adrenaline High at a Maryland Recreation and Park Association conference in 2007. Since I am always looking for speakers for my Explorations Unlimited program (speaker series designed for senior citizens but open to all), I asked if he would be willing to be one of my guest speakers and he agreed. In January 2008, Mr. Shedaker came to the Greenbelt Community Center to speak to speak at the Exploration Unlimited speaker series. He gave a slide presentation about kayaking and all the possibilities of combining kayaking, biking and camping with his company, Adrenaline High. All those who attended this presentation were senior citizens. Those who were present thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and were ready to try kayaking for themselves.
The Greenbelt Senior Center holds an annual outdoor senior picnic and in 2008 the picnic was held at our own Buddy Attick Lake Park. After Mr. Shedaker’s presentation, I asked if he would be able to join us at our picnic, bringing his tandem kayaks, to let the seniors experience kayaking in their own back yard. He agreed. We had about 30 senior citizens and a couple of younger individuals with disabilities come to the picnic and they had the opportunity to kayak on our lake. This was so well accepted and enjoyed by all, that we have invited Adrenaline High back again for this year’s picnic in May.
Because the senior citizens had been introduced to kayaking in a safe, non-threatening environment, they were all excited about trying it on the Eastern Shore. A kayaking trip on the Eastern Shore with Adrenaline High as our guide was planned and this trip took place in September, 2008.
Working with many senior citizens who are in their seventies and eighties, I was uncertain if I would be able to get enough interest for a kayaking trip, so I opened the trip to those eight and above (children had to be accompanied by an adult). I was quite surprised that half of those attended were in fact senior citizens. Of the 14 individuals attending we had one nine year old, two individuals in their thirties, three individuals in their forties, one fifty year old, one 67 year old, five individuals in their seventies, and one who was 81. The trip was so well received that individuals are asking when we will be going back. I’m currently planning another trip.
The kayaking trip on the Manokin River and Jones Creek was wonderful and the food following our kayaking was exceptional. Adrenaline High was very attentive to all the participants and their guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. We are looking forward to our next trip with Adrenaline High.
I have to admit that first having a presentation about kayaking, then being able to experience with it close to home were both great opportunities to introduce the senior citizens to a new experience. This relieved their fear of kayaking and many were quite enthusiastic about kayaking more. Traveling to the Eastern Shore and having Adrenaline High offer us such an enjoyable trip was indeed memorable and worth repeating.
If anyone else is wondering how to get over the fear and uncertainty of kayaking, particularly for older adults, I strongly recommend doing as I did, have a presentation first, then a hands on demonstration and finally a trip. You’ll be surprised at the response you’ll get.
Karen Haseley, CTRS
City of Greenbelt, MD