A tropical fundraiser for adaptive recreation

Food, music, speakers and more
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Adaptive recreation helps people with impaired mobility participate and compete in recreational activities. Photo courtesy of City of Kentwood.

The City of Kentwood is inviting community members to an annual celebration to enhance the city’s adaptive recreation programs. The all ages fundraiser, a tropical backyard party  called “The Vibe” is set for Thursday, Sept. 14,  run 6-9 p.m. at the Kent District Library branch located at 4950 Breton Ave. SE.  It will include food, cocktails, live music, a silent auction, adaptive equipment displays and more.

The evening will also feature guest speakers Johnny and Jeff Agar, who compete as TeamAgar. Johnny, who has cerebral palsy, and his father Jeff are a father-son team who compete in endurance races together. Jeff helps Johnny until the last mile when Johnny gets up and walks across the finish with his walker.

Photo courtesy of City of Kentwood.

Johnny, who uses a wheelchair, and his dad have competed in more than 200 races in various states, including multiple marathons, half marathons, 25Ks and more than 30 triathlons. They’ve also competed in six Ironman races where Jeff pulled Johnny 2.4 miles in a kayak, rode 112 miles on a custom tandem bike and pushed Johnny in a racing jogger during the marathon portion. In September 2022, TeamAgar completed their first full-distance Ironman in Maryland, where Johnny walked across the finish line.

“Johnny Agar and his team have achieved incredible things and serve as an example of the great impact adaptive recreation can have for an individual and a community,” said Val Romeo, Kentwood parks and recreation director. “We are delighted to have Johnny share his story and give community members a chance to learn more about the power of adaptive recreation.”

Community members are encouraged to dress casually for the event. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased online at kentwoodvibe.com or by calling 616.656.5270 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday.

Money raised at this year’s event will help purchase new equipment for Kentwood’s many adaptive programs. These offerings include active sports such as archery, kayaking, rock climbing and water skiing as well as more relaxed activities like leisure club and social events.

“The City of Kentwood is pleased to offer a wide range of activities with something for all interests and abilities,” said Ann Przybysz, Kentwood’s recreation program coordinator. “These programs give individuals an opportunity to safely participate in activities in an adapted way, allowing them to build connections, confidence and new skills along the way.”

The Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department provides Michigan’s most comprehensive adaptive recreation programming alongside several community partners, including Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan, Hope Network, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and more. Programs are also made possible thanks to the help of a strong volunteer network.

Programs are open to individuals of all abilities in Kentwood and beyond. Learn more about the City of Kentwood’s adaptive programs and current offerings at kentwood.us/adaptive.

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