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Arc of San Antonio kids get rare day on lake

San Antonio Polo Club grounds host 25 kids with disabilities for fun day

SAN ANTONIO - On the grounds of the San Antonio Polo Club, horses and polo balls were replaced by wheelchairs, game wardens and fishing poles.

The facility, which also enjoys a stocked lake and wheelchair accessible fishing cabin, opened its doors for a unique day on the water, courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife, Alamo Heights Optimist Club and the Arc of San Antonio.

Approximately 25 children -- who range in disability from mild Down syndrome to severely physically challenged -- were given fishing rods and rare access to the water in a safe fishing environment for the day.

Children, like 15-year-old Curtis, got one-on-one assistance from a game warden to make sure his day on the lake was fun.

"He'll put his hands up and do his little dance and say, 'Fish, fish' and it's just so exciting. You'll know, everyone will know when Curtis catches a fish,” said his mom, who cried when he landed one.

She says he was only given a one-year life expectancy when he was born with significant mental and physical conditions, including Down syndrome and displaced hips.

She says this is a special day for kids.

“It's nice to be able to move around in a wheelchair because sometimes places say they are wheelchair-accessible but they are not and this is a wonderful place," she said.

The game wardens host “kid fish” days all over Texas, but this is a special opportunity for the disabled and their parents.

“The parents, they get so excited because the kids are so excited and they start crying. I think that's the most fulfilling thing that we receive out here,” said Kathleen Stubben, who developed the idea five years ago.

Beth Green, development director with the Arc of San Antonio, says the children look forward to this day every year, in part because it proves that they can do an outdoor activity despite their disability.

Next week, the polo field lake will be opened to adult disabled clients of the Arc for the first time.

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