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Kayak fishing has been a lot more to me than just sitting in a plastic boat on the middle of a river. I have met so many fantastic people while being involved in the sport. When I started kayaking five years ago, I didn’t really know where it would ultimately lead me.

My husband James and I have been very active in extending out love for kayaking to the youth of our community. Each year, my husband and I donate kayaking or camping equipment to our local Kids of the Community program. The program works with children in our hometown who need extra support during the summer and after school year round. KOTC provides tutoring and a summer feeding program for at-risk kids. To help raise money to keep the program up and running, Kids of the Community holds an annual kayaking event known as Paddlefest. Every year during Paddlefest, my husband and I donate a kayak or a kayaking related item to be auctioned. This year, we selected an Orion 25 quart cooler. Orion Coolers are built in the same plant as all Jackson kayaks are built in Sparta, Tennessee.

Seeing the joy on the kids faces during Paddlefest makes all the work that goes into the event worthwhile. Helping others and using kayaking and kayak fishing to enrich the lives of others has truly been a blessing for my husband and I. We plan to continue to support our local youth and help get them interested in the sport of kayaking while teaching them about river conservation.

Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, KOTC works to involve kids in kayak fishing trips, river cleanup, and leisure kayaking.

– Courtney Bennett