My last beginners paddle was another beautiful night. Every time I set out on these paddles with my group of participants, there are always a few people who say “what a perfect night” or “tonight is just beautiful”. After 5 of these evening paddles I’ve come to the conclusion that the Ipswich River is beautiful on any given night.
The Ipswich River has been my home this summer. I have been lucky enough to enjoy a lot of my work days on the water with a diverse crowd of people ranging in age and residency.
This beginners paddle went very well and at the end several paddlers were asking when the next one would be. I answered and told them of the Trails and Sails paddle on September 24th, but was sad that I will not be able to attend.
Since the start of my time at this program I have grown more and more appreciative of all of those before me who had the vision to make all of this possible. Getting people out on the river and connected to a place that holds such intrinsic value is absolutely essential. I am grateful for the person who thought of the Beginners Paddle, I have loved getting out every other Tuesday evening this summer with a new group of enthusiastic, open-minded people each time.
On my last paddle I was accompanied by a group of 12 other paddlers. Some of these people had returned after a previous paddle, but were back to take a post-work, relaxing evening excursion. We leisurely paddled downstream in our 10 kayaks and 1 canoe. I was, again, treated to the beautiful sights of herons, songbirds, turtles and dragonflies that make the river seem like home. For this I was happy, but sad that it was my last time leading our little paddling gang down the river.
As my time here comes to an end this summer, I have learned more than I ever could have imagined.
Those who brought the idea of getting kids on the river to life, I will forever look up to. These river stewards were able to make a program arise out of their passion and understanding of how to make a difference. Thanks to these people I have been able to work with so many different groups of kids who come from all different backgrounds and places. Each group I have meet this summer have brought something new to the table; their differing knowledge, interests, outlooks and experiences of the river have made my experience truly special.
Thanks to McCarthy Family Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., and Co-Trustee, so far this year, with this program, we have been able to reach about 250 kids and more than half of those have been able to get on the Ipswich River. They have been able to learn about where they get their water from, how important it is to keep rivers healthy and what they can do to ensure this.
This has been a great experience for me. Seeing how a non-profit operates has truly been amazing. Every
person who is involved in keeping this organization running has been kind and encouraging. I plan to utilize the knowledge I have received from my fellow staff, my groups of kids, volunteers and many others in my future ventures as a student, professional and river steward.
Featured Image: Speaking to my first visiting group, the Church of Hinesburg