Lots of charities and organizations out there began due to someone cherished who suffered an illness or a tragedy, so the cause was created. But there’s many out there who suffer, or who are such a small organization they go unnoticed. That’s why I created “Paddle For Your Pal”.
We are all related you know. Even online ancestry sites track us back to one group of humans. Instead of bullying one another or ranting our dislikes about someone on Facebook, maybe we could do something nice for our fellow man, or kin, as it were. Lots of charities and organizations out there began due to someone cherished who suffered an illness or a tragedy, so the cause was created. But there’s many out there who suffer, or who are such a small organization they go unnoticed. That’s why I created “Paddle For Your Pal”.
With the first annual Paddle For your Pal in the books and only 8 paddlers in attendance, we definitely have room to grow. Room for more people doing what they love for someone or something they love. Even perhaps someone they have never met. I created Paddle For Your Pal because I believe in community and I love paddling, so why not marry the two? Paddling for a purpose gives you much more incentive to train, to practice, and to go farther than you have ever have before.
To participate in this year’s Paddle For Your Pal, paddlers of any kind could register, and the stipulations consisted of: Choosing an organization, charity, or person of your choice to paddle for. Reaching out to their social network and asking for pledges of at least $1 per mile, letting them know you are going to challenge yourself to see how far you can go. On the day of the event, paddlers went as far as they could, and when they tuckered out, one of the two support boats took them back to the launch site. Or they journeyed the whole loop if they were so inclined. Once the event was over and they had padded as far as they could, they announced the mileage to their pledgers. Donations were collected for the appropriate person, charity, or organization.
It was refreshing to see folks arrive anxious to see how far they could go. One paddler who had only ever paddled 4 miles at most, ended up going the full 24 we had allotted, and raised a good chunk of change for her local humane society. It empowered her to know what feats she could accomplish and of course the human society was thrilled.
Myself, I paddled for someone I had never met. Hayden Maggard. He was a young teen in my community who I had heard had been battling deadly neuroblastoma for over 2 years. Every time I heard is name, my heart bled for him. So I knew that I wanted to see how far I could go for him. And many in my social network were eager to pledge, even for someone they had never met. As I paddled throughout the day, I recorded video messages for him when I took a break, to let him know how he inspired me to keep going with how strong he was the face of his illness.
As the pledges poured in, my heart felt like bursting with warmth. It didn’t matter that many of the pledgers didn’t know him. We are friends and we are family as human beings. When one human is hurting, we hurt for them. And in true human nature, we want to help.
We are put on this earth to help. It’s our calling. It’s our passion. And frankly, it’s our duty. And those of us with a paddle in our hand have more than a tool for fitness and competitions at our disposal. We have instrument of compassion. One that can do great things if we will open ourselves up to the willingness to help.
24 Miles isn’t extreme. Paddle For Your Pal isn’t a race. There is no medal at the end. There is only the satisfaction of knowing that you did something for your fellow man. And isn’t that worth more than any medal or trophy could ever provide you?
Paddle For your Pal is not trademarked or patented. Start it in your community. See how many organizations and persons can be helped. I’ll be sure to host one every year in my area, so email me if you’d like to be involved in 2019’s Paddle For Your Pal. How far would you go for your fellow man? Challenge yourself and join me in making the world a more loving place, one stroke at a time.
For more information on Paddle For Your Pal, email me.
Branson West, Missouri - Jodelle Fitzwater has been a yoga instructor for over 15 years, and a SUP instructor for over 5 years. She's a BiC SUP Pro Stand Up Paddle Ambassador, SUP TV Fitness & Yoga Host, Certified PaddleFit Instructor, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Nutrition Coach. Oh, yea, and self-proclaimed mermaid.Website: www.getfitwithjodelle.com/