Getting Kids in Boats

A few years ago, I started writing a business plan for a youth kayaking program.  The idea was to pick kids up after school, take them paddling, and drop them off at home.  I had the pleasure of reading all kinds of business books, and learned quite a bit.  I read Raising the Bar, by Gary Erickson (about how Cliffbar grew) and Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard (about the founding and growth of Patagonia).  I decided that if I was going to run a company of my own, I wanted to run it in a socially and environmentally responsible way, like Cliffbar and Patagonia.  But then, I got to the bottom line:  to make a kids kayaking program work like I originally wanted, I would have to charge too much, and the market in my town would not support it.

Then, last fall, a geology teacher from a nearby alternative school approached me about starting a program for kids at the school.  We got approval, and some funding.  Since I’m working at the YMCA, we arranged to use the YMCA pool and to paddle on Lake Tye across the street.  We’re starting to get donations of gear, and it looks like we’ll be able to start by the end of this month.  I’m excited to get kids out in boats…after all, it was through the efforts a few adults at my high school that I started paddling.

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