Karen founded AquAbility in 2010. Karen is blessed to be working in her passion helping people with disabilities find health, independence and enjoyment in the healing environment of water. It is her hope that AquAbility will continue to flourish and grow in order to help many more people. In addition to swimming, Karen loves to paddle board, is an ice hockey goalie, reader, and loves to cook.
Jenna has over 20 years experience teaching a variety of adaptive aquatics programs to people of all ages and abilities. She is a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and has worked in the field in and out of the water in clinical and community settings. She began working for AquAbility in Fall of 2014 shortly after moving here from Colorado. When she isn’t in the water she is recreating with her husband and two children. They enjoy mountain biking, skiing, paddle boarding and traveling. Jenna is excited to be a part of AquAbility and to share her excitement for swimming with others. Jenna has the AquAbility Therapeutic Aquatics for People with Disabilities Certification.
Kjersten is from Minnesota and graduated from St. Olaf College, then did her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of MN. She started competitively swimming at the age of 8 and swam through college. She has always enjoyed working with youth and helped coach an adaptive swim team in MN prior to moving to Idaho. Kjersten particularly enjoys seeing people make progress in desired skill areas or become more independent and curious in their environment.
Kjersten joined AquAbility to better be able to work with individuals in an aquatic setting to improve their comfort, function, and safety in the water. Additionally, AquAbility has awesome tools, strategies, and mind-sets about aquatic therapy that is both in sync with the field of physical therapy, yet very novel to create a custom experience to meet the needs of each individual. Kjersten earned the AquAbility Therapeutic Aquatics for People with Disabilities Certificate.
Finally, Kjersten believes costumes are always welcome, singing and repeat after me songs are genius, and having fun is always the goal.
Missy Russell is an Elementary Education and Early Childhood trained teacher with her Water Safety Instructor certification. She has also trained in deep and shallow water Hydrofit. She enjoys water sports such as white water rafting, snorkeling, scuba diving, hydrofit classes and swimming. She has taken a special interest in working in Special Education classes as a substitute teacher in the Wood River area for the past four years. She is currently working as an assistant teacher in a pre-k classroom, guest teaching at the local school district, and is an instructor at AquAbility. She is particularly interested and trained in helping students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and feels that time, patience, and understanding go a long way. Missy looks forward with enthusiasm to helping participants hone their swimming skills to achieve water safety, fitness and enjoyment. Missy began working with the AquAbility in Ketchum at Zenergy in November 2017. Missy has her AquAbility Therapeutic Aquatics for People with Disabilities Certificate.
Kat is from the beautiful state of Washington and moved to Boise seeking higher education. She is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Health Science, Pre-Occupational Therapy at Boise State University. Kat started swimming competitively when she was 5 years old and has been obsessed with the water ever since. She started working in aquatics when she was 15 years old as a lifeguard and swim instructor, as well as teaching lifeguarding and CPR classes. She first saw AquAbility when she was working as a lifeguard at the Boise State Rec Center. Kat fell in love with the program and has been working with AquAbility since early 2018. Kat holds the AquAbility Therapeutic Aquatics for People with Disability Instructor certification.
Olivia worked as a lifeguard at Boise State Recreation Aquatic Center and for three years she watched the AquAbility program improve the lives of their participants. As a Kinesiology student at Boise State University, she needed to choose a Service Learning program and knew immediately with whom to sign up. Olivia has taught American Red Cross swim lessons since 2012 and feels very comfortable in aquatic environments. In addition to teaching swim lessons, she continues to teach Water Aerobics, Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid classes. She has been with AquAbility since January of 2016, and is grateful for the opportunity to change lives of all ages working with AquAbility therapeutic adaptive programs. Olivia holds the AquAbility Therapeutic Aquatics for People with Disabilities Certification and is AquAbility’s Program Director.
Matt Dahlgran – As a recreation major in college, Matt always told people he went to college to learn how to play. It always seemed to be an appropriate answer given the content of his classes. Now, seeing the incredible work of AquAbility, he sees “play” with a purpose each day. As a non-profit professional for 15 years, Matt has always appreciated the impact non-profits have on individuals, both staff and participant. Now, with AquAbility, Matt has a chance to see the story numbers can tell about the program and the growth of the participants. Matt and his family have been in Boise for 3 years and enjoy the culture, climate, and people.