Teens learn kayaking on Hudson River in Yonkers
Rockland/Westchester Journal News
YONKERS — As they kayak into the sunset on a clear August day, teens are getting a reprieve from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic while learning the ways of the Hudson River.
The teens, who mostly live in the city, are part of a Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club program that is teaching them about the environment and kayaking.
But the program is serving another purpose, too. It is allowing them to have greater social interaction in a time of social distancing.
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Kayaking students at the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club. (Photo: Tiffany Cusaac-Smith)
Zoe Goncalves, a member of the program, said kayaking with other teens has allowed her to meet new friends, which is not always easy to do.
“Well, it’s nice because you can socialize with other kids but not have to wear the mask because once you’re on the water you stay six feet apart,” Goncalves said.
Kristina Marte, who kayaks with her sister, said the program has allowed her to get out of the house during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since the COVID, we can’t really go out to do other stuff. So, since this is still open, it still has a sense of normalcy,” she said.
Recognizing the need for a respite for the youth of Yonkers, the club’s leadership reached out to groups that served diverse children from various socioeconomic statuses.
The organization’s successor, the Yonkers Canoe Club, was founded in the late 1880s, with its first members being a mix of local boys and older members of the city’s professional community. Today, the nonprofit is encouraging diversity, along with participation in rowing and paddling sports.
A kayaking student at the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing club. (Photo: Tiffany Cusaac-Smith)
Phil Giller, vice commodore of the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club, said that this is a sport for everyone, not just children of means. He hopes that by teaching the teens to be comfortable around the water that they will become better kayakers and protectors of the environment.
“I’d like these kids to know that they are the future protectors of not only the Hudson River but the environment,” he said.
Tiffany covers Yonkers. Click here for her latest stories. Follow her on Twitter @T_Cusaac. Sign up today for a digital subscription.
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