"Floating" for Camp Courageous - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"Floating" for Camp Courageous

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -

An overnight storm gave way to a warm, sunny Saturday morning -- a perfect day for floating down the river.

"The rain's gone, and the river looks great. And it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day," said Aaron Cook.

Dozens of Eastern Iowans enjoyed the beautiful day while participating in the inaugural Wapsie Poker Float. Folks stopped five times along the river, picking up a playing card. The best hand at the end won the grand prize -- a canoe.

But the intention for most people was not to compete, but rather to relax and enjoy nature.

"It's something that Brett and Adam can both participate in. And it's something they do when they go down to camp," said Annette Zuck, mother of Brett Zuck.

Brett and his buddy Adam Schmit are regular campers at Camp Courageous, a place designed for kids and adults with disabilities.

When asked about his time at camp, Adam explained, "I like it, I like it, I love it."

By canoeing, or kayaking, down the Wapsipinicon River Saturday, the poker floaters were simultaneously raising money for a new lake at Camp Courageous.

"It's going to be a several acre lake that campers will be able to use for camping, fishing," Cook, a camp representative, said. "And in the past we've had to go to the Maquoketa River or travel to do those activities. And they're pretty core camping activities."

The float is also a way to show off what the Wapsie River has to offer. It was organized by local business owners, working as a team to promote the river.

"We had a lot of help and a lot of support, so it's not as much work as it looks like," noted Andy Crump, owner of Wapsie River Rentals and co-organizer of the float.

River Timber Campground owner Jim Klever came up with the idea for a poker float. He pitched it to Crump, and says Crump ran with it. Tammy Rasmussen, from the Independence Chamber of Commerce, said this is a great example of teamwork.

"We launched a new Wapsie River trail, and now all these people are working together. And that's one of the best things we can do, to cross-promote," added Rasmussen.

With a strong turnout, and hundreds of dollars raised, it appears the first float won't be the last.

For more information about Camp Courageous, click here.

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