Paralyzed, but getting "Outdoors Again" and panning for gold

NOW: Panning for gold

BYRON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine has some pretty great spots for gold panning, including Coos Canyon in Byron. The owners of the local Rock and Gift shop donated their land and time for a group called Outdoors Again. 

The mission is to get anyone restricted by physical disabilities out into the wilderness.

"You could see him light up," said Jere Gray about her son Eli, whose Cerebral Palsy can affect his movement. "He was pointing to his wheels and then pointing to others and sort of making the association that he's not the only one out there."

On the shores of the Sandy River, the five-year-old collects rocks, waiting for his turn to pan for gold.

"These people all face different challenges and yet we're all kind of in the same boat, and we can go out and do things," said Gray.

This was a weekend-long camping trip for anyone restricted in their mobility. In the hills of Byron, they got "Outdoors Again," which is the name of the non-profit started by the founders of Howe and Howe Technologies. 

Geoff and Mike Howe work hard with a number of volunteers to get wheelchairs where none have gone before.

"We have a round table of sorts of people who are paralyzed running Outdoors Again, and one of our clients said, 'Hey you know what, I want to go gold panning. Can we go Gold panning?'" Geoff recalls about how the trip came about.

"We were like, I don't even know if there is gold panning in Maine. So we did some research and gave it a shot. We didn't even know if we could do it with paralyzed people."
 
But they did. How?
 
"What you do is just call people and say, 'Hey volunteers, let's make it happen.'"
 
If you're interested in helping out, or learning more about Outdoors Again, click here.

 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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