Oakland Park Paddle Club offers new after-school program – Sun Sentinel

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Just because summer vacation is over and school is back doesn’t mean the party is over. The City of Oakland Park has partnered with Blue Moon Outdoor Adventures to offer a free after-school program for kids to learn to kayak and paddleboard. Sessions begin September 6 and are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. on September 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, and 22.

The free program is provided by a government grant made possible by the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America and the United States Conference of Mayors. Kayak and paddle board equipment and water safety instruction along with transportation to the Veterans Park will be arranged for all registered Oakland Park Paddle Club members. Children ages 7-17 who live in Oakland Park are eligible.

Oakland Park Acting Director of Parks and Recreation Services, Chris Casale, said he was thrilled to see the opportunity for boys and girls in the community.

“Oakland Park Paddle Club was a think-tank program that was off the beaten path,” Casale said. “We thought we had a lot of water here with 118 acres and we wanted to use that to our advantage. We have transportation that takes children to waterways, lakes and canals. It’s an opportunity to explore something new and different from the usual things like playing soccer, basketball or kickball. I’m excited about this program and think the residents will love it.

Oakland Park Mayor Matthew Sparks is all for the new program and also enjoys paddleboarding and kayaking as a form of recreational entertainment.

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“Through this program, we’re able to get kids away from soda so they can get the much-needed exercise every child needs,” he said. “I think this program is going to strive and really take off.”

Based at George English Park in Fort Lauderdale, Lauren Ridley, owner of Blue Moon Outdoor Adventures, has been providing the public with the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of South Florida’s waterways since 2001.

“As soon as they come out they are having fun, having fun and they can’t wait to come back and sometimes I can’t even get them out of the water,” she said.

Ridley and his staff will teach proper paddling techniques, water safety, the ecosystem, and how to be physically active on the water with kayaking and paddleboarding.

Oakland Park Recreation Program Director Steven Mattair will oversee the program. Besides Veterans Park, there are other lakes and several waterways that feed into the Intracoastal.

(Blue Moon Outdoor Adventures/Courtesy)

“Veterans Park will be where we meet and we will provide the kayaks and paddle boards, safety vests and paddles with the grant we received,” he said. “Blue Moon Outdoor Adventures will provide instructions. There will be six sessions for Oakland Park residents and classes will be limited to 20 campers. We want to fight childhood obesity and that’s something fun and different. This is a great opportunity for young people and their families. »

Visit oaklandparkfl.gov/724/oakland-park-paddle-club or call 954-630-4500.

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