SAIL to host open house for new youth ORCA program on Jan. 25 at Hames

Youth Open House Version 2

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) will host an open house for its new ORCA Youth Adventure Club program from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center.

The new ORCA Youth Adventure Club program in Sitka is for students in the second through eighth grades of all abilities and their parents. Participants in Saturday’s open house will be able to try out the climbing wall, enjoy food and music, and meet the local SAIL staff. ORCA, which stands for Outdoor Recreation and Community Access, provides year-round recreation and community access programs for people of all ages who experience a disability. We focus on socialization, team-building, and fun outside.

While the main purpose of ORCA is to provide a variety of opportunities for people with disabilities to get outdoors and enjoy life, several ORCA members from other Southeast communities have gone on to compete in local and even international events. A pair of former ORCA adult program athletes from Juneau (Joe Tompkins, Seth McBride, both paralyzed from the waist down) have gone on to compete in the Paralympics in skiing (Tompkins) and quad rugby (McBride). There also have been ORCA teams participating in events such as the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay and local fun runs and cycling events. McBride currently is in the middle of a 10,000-mile handcycle trip from Portland, Ore., to Patagonia, Argentina.

To learn more about the new Sitka program, contact Alli Gabbert of SAIL at 747-6859 or

• January 2014 calendar of Sitka SAIL events

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