On a stunning autumn day in Washington, DC, we celebrated the partnerships that have created outdoor educational opportunities for more than 100,000 urban youth. We were thrilled to be joined by so many Canoemobile champions from the public and private sectors on the anniversary of the program’s sixth year in our nation’s capital.
The day featured a very special Voyageur canoe dedication to the late US Representative Bruce Vento for his vision and commitment to protecting and sharing the natural world, after which 200 local students paddled with Canoemobile.
Speaking at the event were US Representative Betty McCollum; Dan Ashe, Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service; Bob Ratcliffe, National Park Service Program Chief, Conservation and Outdoor Recreation; John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management US; Sue Vento; and Greg Lais and Chad Dayton from Wilderness Inquiry.
“This event was a wonderful celebration of the success that can be found when public, private and non-profit partners work together to promote conservation and environmental stewardship,” said Congresswoman Betty McCollum. “I am so proud of Wilderness Inquiry and it was a pleasure to see them bring our Minnesota values of conservation and love of the great outdoors to children in Washington, DC. My friend and predecessor, the late Congressman Bruce Vento, would have loved seeing all of those leaders come together on a beautiful fall day to share the outdoors with 200 local children. Bruce dedicated his life and his public service to protecting our natural resources and environment, and seeing him honored here today was a fitting tribute.”
Canoemobile is honored to be supported by RBC Wealth Management US. RBC’s John Taft, Hal Tearse, and Craig Shaver traveled from Minnesota to participate; they have been big advocates for Canoemobile and we can’t thank them enough.
Warren Bischoff, RBC Washington Complex Director, and Team RBC volunteered to paddle with the students. Warren sent this email after a great day engaging with DC youth:
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the 7 schools and roughly 200 kids who paddled giant canoes around the Potomac River from Thompson’s Boathouse in Georgetown last week as part of Canoemobile.
Many of these 5th graders were shaking in fright, some even crying, as they conquered their fears and boarded the canoes for their first ever river experience. Those same children were giggling and joyous as they settled into the rhythms of paddling as a team and touring the harbor. A dozen Park Rangers and another dozen Canoemobile staff (who have camped their way across America) joined in to teach and keep the kids safe. Two of the kids were completely blind, were also trembling in fear, and then were laughing and victorious after they returned to the dock. It was really something special to see.
RBC is one of the primary sponsors for the Canoemobile, which has touched the lives of many thousands of kids in cities nationwide. The kids played games and enjoyed 200 box lunches with glee.
John Taft hosted a press conference for the dedication of a new Voyager Canoe dedicated to Bruce Vento, the late Minnesota congressman whose passion for getting city kids into these canoes inspired Canoemobile. A long list of dignitaries from the Parks Service, EPA, Bureau of Land management, and Wilderness Inquiry joined John to celebrate the success of this public/private venture.
It was another great example of the heart and soul of Team RBC making a difference in our community. Great job everyone!