Outdoor Storytellers – Kneeboarding Blind

HAYDEN LAKE — Trying something new is typically a little scary for anyone.  Add some water, a powerful boat and a kneeboard, plus a few other factors, and you have one excited girl.

Considering she’s only 11-years-old, Marybai Huking is a really good kneeboarder.

“It kinda just feels like you’re gliding, but sometimes the water gets a little choppy so you kinda just bounce,” she says.  “It’s really fun cause it’s like gliding over the water.”

Gliding on her kneeboard around Hayden Lake during this hot, sunny summertime day in August for Marybai is something completely new.

“My first time, it was kinda scary because I didn’t know what was actually going to happen,” she says.  “I thought i was going to flip over. But, then once you do it, it was really easy.”

Kneeboarding came to Marybai easily, although her road in life that brought her to Hayden Lake didn’t begin in Idaho.  It didn’t even begin in the United States.

Marybai was born in China, than adopted by an American family when she was two.  She now lives in South Dakota.

But what’s remarkable about Marybai is that she has albinism, which leaves her skin, hair and eyes without any pigment.  So her skin’s vulnerable to sunlight, and she can’t see.  But here at summer camp, she’s just another regular kid.

“Camp impacts lives in whoever it is,” says camp director Bruce Christensen, “and when it comes to the visually impaired. It’s amazing how it impacts their lives in extremely positive ways.”