Luke 5 Adventures
Hiking with Those Who Can’t Hike Themselves
By: Gordon Dawson
Luke 5 Adventures came about from the caring hearts of Kim & Kevin Schwieger, active members and staff of Grace Chapel Mason. As enthusiasts of anything outdoors, this couple saw a need and made way for families living with disabilities to treat themselves and explore all of God’s nature. With the assistance of a unique bike, made especially for challenging terrain, the Joëlette makes hiking a reality for anyone with physical disabilities.
The journey started when a member of their church, Debi Rosen, who uses a wheelchair as a result of a teenage accident, asked Kevin about a recent hiking trip he had made with friends and family. His detailed description so touched her that she said she could visually see where he had been and what he had seen, but saddened knowing her condition would never allow for a personal journey as described. This conversation stirred up a feeling in Kevin & Kim to figure out a way to take disabled people on the journey of their lives through woods, across mud, up & down mountains, through creeks, past wildlife to reach visual scenery of epic thoughts never before seen. After much research, it turns out there are not many outfitters capable of maneuvering the disabled in this manner. Even in places across the US that cater to hiking and exploration, none seemed able to provide more than maybe a sidewalk, or smooth surface that’s wheelchair accessible. This obstacle only added to the persistence to make it possible for a disabled person to explore the deep woods.
After an extensive search for equipment adaptive to making these journeys a reality, the Joëlette (made in France) hit the mark. Kevin and Kim quickly realized this company was making it their mission to provide the means for anyone to make nature and culture accessible, allowing sport and leisure for all, creating social connections, making dreams come true. The “Classic one-wheeled” version proved sufficient, and through special donations, the first Joelette was on its way. And who better to try this out, but the wonderful lady from whom all this started — Debi Rosen.
Debi was both eager and noticeably nervous to be the first one ever to get strapped onto the one-wheeled chair, never before seen or used by this group of enthusiasts. However, with a little trial and error, the first journey around Caesar Creek showed definite signs that this was the exact equipment needed to make and enhance these journeys. The first Joelette became dubbed, “Rosie 1” after Debi Rosen’s inaugural exploration. These bikes do not come cheap, at a whopping $5600/ea, it seemed likely this new ministry would have to manage with just the one. Obviously, this would make for shorter trips to allow as many as possible the ability to go deep and see nature’s wonders. But as God has a way of meeting the demand, other donors saw the unique and miraculous ways these bikes could change lives, and now the ministry has a total of three. Additionally, an anonymous donor sprung for a trailer capable of carrying four, should another “Rosie” get ordered.
Luke 5 Adventures is on the cusp of exploding into chapters all across the US as many specialty camps are just now learning of this fantastic program and equipment. COVID19 has slowed down the planning of scheduled hikes, but it has not dampened the enthusiasm for this ministry. More and more partners are doing everything possible to incorporate these types of hikes into their curriculum. Luke 5 is also conversations with the foundation for “Disabled Veterans” to provide a sensory experience like no other. Countless outdoor outfitters are eager to establish a program such as this for their markets. REI has even teamed up to provide exposure on a massive, worldly scale.
So if you know someone with a disability, as nearly 1 in 4 people do, share this opportunity with them. As mobility is the most common type, this ministry offers unparalleled opportunities for physical challenges to be overcome by just a few excited souls eager to give to this underserved community. The best part, it is free, because of the donations from individuals who believe in making an impact on each hiker’s life, as well as God’s kingdom.
– Can this really make a difference?
– What impact do you get out it?
– Can you think of anyone this can benefit?