The Cause: Keep sulfide ore mining out of the Boundary Waters
The Instigators: Dave and Amy Freeman
The Method: Minnesota-based outdoor guides and educators Dave and Amy Freeman completed an environmental advocacy canoe journey covering 100 days and 2,000 miles from Minnesota to Washington, D.C., in order to raise awareness about the effects of sulfide ore mining, and to collect signatures to keep it out of the Boundary Waters.
The Cause: Empowering Peruvian youth through whitewater kayaking
The Instigator: Juan Antonio de Ugarte Burbank, along with his family and friends, as well as the Ottawa Kayak School and Wilderness Tours
The Method: A memorial scholarship in honor of Juan Antonio de Ugarte Burbank, who died this winter paddling in Chile, will annually give one Peruvian youth the chance to progress their paddling skills. Through the support of the Ottawa Kayak School (OKS) and Wilderness Tours, the Juanito de Ugarte Memorial Scholarship will, for its inaugural year, send one Peruvian paddler to the Ottawa River for a three-week long course at the OKS Keeners Program. As a coach for OKS Keeners, Juanito emphasized that the program develops great paddlers but also “creates admirable people with notion of the important things in life: respect for others and the environment.”
More on the Juanito de Ugarte Memorial Scholarship
The Cause: Helping rebuild Nepal after the catastrophic earthquakes of 2015
The Instigator: The Nepal Kayak Club
The Method: After the first of two major earthquakes struck Nepal, killing thousands, the Nepal Kayak Club quickly assembled a team of international search and rescue personnel, medics and Nepali river and mountain guides to help bring shelter, food, medical supplies and support to areas that no one else was able reach. Their efforts have likely saved hundreds if not thousands of lives.
The Cause: Raise awareness and funds for a school for children living in a garbage dump community in Guatemala City.
The Instigator: Deb Walters
The Method: Walters, a 63-year-old grandmother and retired research scientist, paddled solo down the U.S. Atlantic coast from Yarmouth, Maine, to the southern tip of Florida, where she then sailed with a friend to Central America. She continued south in her stitch-and-glue plywood kayak to Guatemala. Her Kayak for Safe Passage Kids project aimed to raise awareness and funds for a school for children living in a garbage dump community in Guatemala City. Her fundraising goal of $150,000 was enough to add third- and fourth-grade classes to a school funded by Maine-based nonprofit Safe Passage.
The Cause: Introducing inner city kids to the great outdoors through kayakin The Instigator: Jessie Stone and Jackson Kayak
The Method: Working with The Graham Windham School in Hastings-on-Hudson in 2014, the annual Inner City Kids Kayaking Camp brings in professional kayakers to introduce children from large cities to the sport of kayaking and the wider world of the outdoors and rivers—something that they would never otherwise see and experience.
The Cause: Healing wounded spirits through kayak fishing
The Instigators:Jim Dolan
The Method: Heroes on the Water serves all military personnel who have been wounded, injured or disabled. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing for wounded vets is something much deeper. Being on the water gives soldiers a feeling of peace and freedom from their wounds-an experience that "coalesces into personal revelations that while the wounds may have closed one door, there are other doors to explore." HOW facilitates that healing by bringing wounded veterans together with experienced anglers in 35 chapters around the country.
The Cause: Whitewater paddling and other outdoor sports for young adults with cancer
The Instigators: Brad Ludden
The Method: First Descents introduces cancer-fighters to outdoor challenges, empowering them to paddle, climb and surf beyond their diagnosis, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. The experience offers them the opportunity to regain confidence and self-reliance often lost to cancer and allows healing to happen naturally and organically-without forced conversations, structured group sessions or therapy. The program is free, including travel scholarships when needed.
The Cause: Kayaking as therapy for wounded warriors and their families
The Instigators: Joe Mornini and Mike McCormick
The Method: Give active duty service members and veterans the chance to find healing and discover new challenges through whitewater. Military members wounded in battle often endure months of surgeries, physical and readjustment therapies and intense life changes. During these difficult times, many seek new challenges to break their daily treatment routine. Established in 2004 in Washington D.C., TRR offers wounded veterans a chance to improve their health, happiness and connection to nature. TRR works in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports, USA.
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