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Adaptive Water Ski clinic highlights importance of accessibility

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- A mother-daughter duo is working to make water skiing fun for everyone.

Nonprofit 'Graceful Wakes' held an adaptive water ski clinic Friday at Traxler Park in Janesville. The goal is to provide opportunities for people with physical and mental disabilities to get out on the water.

Grace Petzold says she started the nonprofit after an eye-opening experience with her mother, Wendy, who uses a wheelchair.

"I guess my mom was my inspiration, wanting to provide others like her the same opportunity to do the sport of waterskiing, which I've really come to enjoy and love," Grace said.

"After we had the opportunity to be able to ski together, it was so impactful for Grace and our family that we decided that we wanted to start an entity," said Wendy Petzold. "We wanted to start Graceful Wakes to provide that same opportunity that we had as a family to others."

Grace tells 27 News the nonprofit uses a special ski that holds the rope for the participant. Volunteers stay with each water skier the entire run to provide support and encouragement.

"It's so fun to see the smiles and the joy of not only like the participants who are experiencing waterskiing for the first time but also to see their families on shore as they get to watch their loved one experience something new and maybe out of their comfort zone," Grace continued.

Around 40 people participated in the clinic. Graceful Wakes will hold another clinic in Rhinelander on July 23.

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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