Between all the changes we've made because of the COVID-19 pandemic and it's consequences to our economy and very way of life, 2020 was eye opening. And we'll just leave it at that.
From our beginning 35 years ago in 1987 we were stoked to get as many people paddling as we could, any way we could. We sponsored some of the early whitewater rodeos, competitions; and recreational kayaking and canoeing outings though the Idaho Canoe Club. By the early 90's we started to be called on to provide paddling opportunities for people of all abilities and began our long partnership with Boise Parks & Recreation's AdVenture program. As we rolled into a new century we were faced with new challenges and opportunities.
With the opening of our location on Quinn's Pond and Esther Simplot Park in 2005 we were better able to serve a broad cross section of future paddlers and community needs. More access allowed us to expand our offerings to include water safety and the refugee life jacket program with the City of Boise, St. Luke's and Boise Fire Department; more lifetime sports classes for high school and middle school kids; expanded offerings for girls through SheJumps, Wild Hearts Idaho; restorative programs for cancer survivors through River Discovery and many, many more.
Wild Hearts Idaho
The Year of Inclusivity
In 2021 we will be expanding opportunities for everyone in our Idaho communities to share in the joy of paddling and our love of the outdoors. We will be working with our friends at the ACA - American Canoe Association and with our local and national partners to continue our work building bridges and providing water safety, instruction and educational resources. Check out the #JustAddWaterProject from our friends at NRS by clicking here to see how we can approach inclusivity on the water.
There are many barriers preventing marginalized people and communities of color from participating in paddlesports recreationally and competitively. We agree with the ACA that "impacted communities include differently abled and economically disenfranchised communities that also include white people, we believe a rising tide lifts all boats; if we can increase access and opportunities for the most disenfranchised communities, then there will only be positive outcomes and opportunities for others."
Fore more on Diversity in the Great Outdoors and the challenges and barriers to participation in the outdoors and the path forward from click here.
Our goal includes uplifting Idaho’s people and outdoors by "embracing environmentalism, recreation, diversity & inclusion, storytelling, and collaboration". In 2021 we will build on programs like the free PFD program for refugees and disadvantaged youth and continue to provide support for programs designed for the disabled. You can look forward to new and enhanced programs, experiences and campaigns for LGTBQ, refugee and disadvantaged neighbors as well as people of color.
We have a lot of work to do. We will listen, learn, and grow, but the work we're committed to is just the first step in getting us where we need to be as a society, business and sport.
Boise City Parks & Recreation AdVenture Program (click here) provides a wide range of recreational, social and educational programs for youth and adults with disabilities. Paddling programs include whitewater rafting and flat water paddling, SUP, kayak and canoe.
Boise City / Saint Luke's Health System Life Jacket Program (click here) provides families in need free life jackets under a scholarship type program. Once need is determined, Boise residents under 18 years of age who qualify will receive a voucher to be fitted for a free life jacket at Idaho River Sports.
Boise PAL Police Activities League (click here) seeks to enrich our community by facilitating positive interactions with Boise's youth & Boise Police Department officers utilizing programs, events and activities including rafting, SUP boarding and water safety.
New for 2021
American Canoe Association Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Program
While participation in paddlesports continues to grow, more effort needs to be put into introducing paddling opportunities to minorities. A 2019 study by the Outdoor Industry Association found Hispanic participation has increased by almost three percent since 2013 and African American participation has increased incrementally by about one percent per year since 2013. Click here for more.
New Local Partners
"With the help of Inclusive Idaho, Idaho Rivers United will work to increase diverse participation in river and water activities. We are working to build partnerships to support these programs, collaborate to recruit participants and families, mobilize leaders to share and educate, and let participants share their stories and evaluations."
Our rivers are for everyone!
This Land is Your Land
This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the New York island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
And saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.
~ Woody Guthrie, 1940