Nine-year-old Bella Collett said she had “no words” after getting back to the Barrett Lake Marina late Saturday morning after her first-ever water skiing excursion.

“Usually, I never get to do stuff like this, so I’m excited,” she said to The Arizona Republic. 

Collett uses a wheelchair because of her spina bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal cord doesn’t develop properly. She was one of dozens who participated in Arizona Adaptive Water Sports Kids Day on Saturday, an event that provides adaptive equipment and makes water sports accessible for disabled youth.

“This is the opportunity she has to do something and to gain confidence and to see and meet other people with different needs than hers but (know) that we’re all the same in the end,” said Michelle Collett.

Bella Collett water skis at the Arizona Adaptive Water Sports Kids Day, Oct. 9, 2021, Bartlett Lake in Carefree, Arizona.
Bella Collett prepares for water skiing at the Arizona Adaptive Water Sports Kids Day, Oct. 9, 2021, Bartlett Lake in Carefree, Arizona.

Bella Collett entered the water with the support of a swing lift at the dock and a few helping hands. She was timid and even gave a thumbs down right after the boat took off, later telling The Republic she was scared by the speed at first. 

“But then I wanted to go faster,” Collett said. “I was not nervous anymore, and I was really excited.”