AUBURN – Jen Turner of Auburn is looking forward to paddling for Pine Tree Camp on Saturday, June 4. For Turner, it’s much more than an opportunity to kayak on the Androscoggin River – it’s a chance to give back to a place that means so much to her.

Turner, who grew up in Hanover, is a Pine Tree Camp veteran. She began attending the summer camp for Maine people with disabilities after a hit-and-run accident left her with a spinal cord injury at the age of 13. Now in her 30s, Turner has no use of her legs and minimal use of her arms.

“When I had my accident, Pine Tree Camp gave me a huge awakening,” said Turner. “Today it provides a place where I can get away from the struggles of everyday life; it’s a place where I can go swim, get out on my kayak and do things that aren’t accessible on other lakes, ponds or recreational areas.”

Kayaking is something that Turner loved before her accident. After her accident, kayaking turned from a love to a passion.

“When I’m kayaking, I’m equal to other people,” said Turner. “No one has any idea that I have a disability.”

According to Paddle Coordinator Kris Dorer, paddling sports, including kayaking and canoeing, fit in Pine Tree Camp’s mission of providing accessible recreation to Maine people with disabilities.

“Paddling is a unique sport because it can be adapted to fit almost anyone’s abilities,” she said. “We are looking forward to seeing a lot of Pine Tree campers participating in the Paddle, which really reinforces the level of accessibility paddling provides.”

Turner has recruited 10 family members and friends to join her on the Paddle for Pine Tree Camp Androscoggin trip. All told, more than 300 paddlers are expected to participate in the statewide event, which will take place in five locations throughout the state: Androscoggin River, Kennebec River, Saco River, Swan Lake State Park in Belfast and sea kayaking in Brunswick, which will take place on Sunday, June 5

Each site will feature a free shuttle service, a paddling trip and a barbecue for all registered participants.

To register or for more information, visit the Pine Tree Society’s Web site, www.pinetreesociety.org, call 934-7962 or e-mail at [email protected]

Participants raise money for Pine Tree Camp by collecting pledges per mile or accepting straight contributions. For more information, call 443-3341 or visit www.pinetreesociety.org.


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