Last summer Laura Farrell and I got together to brainstorm an idea she had about doing a Women’s Takeover event on the Green. Her passion and excitement compelled and inspired me to get back to Girls at Play’s grassroots beginnings. For years I traveled around the country teaching free/low cost clinics for women, but had taken a break from that to pursue other things. After meeting with Laura I felt energized about creating an all-levels meet-up paddling series for women and so the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series was conceived! It’s a series of seven events on the Lower Green, Tuckaseegee Gorge, Nantahala, Pigeon, FB9, Ocoee and Lower Gauley.
A few years ago I started the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund to honor the legacy of positivity and community that Shannon left behind. The vision I have for the fund is to empower women in kayaking and also to bring kayaking to underserved girls and women as a medium of confidence building and transformation. Laura and I both agreed that my series and her Takeover events would be free of charge with the intention of collecting donations for the SCMF.
My sponsors were on-board with the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series with Dagger donating a kayak, Werner a paddle and Kokatat a drytop to be raffled off at the end of the series. They also donated shwag such as t-shirts to be given away at each event. Werner donated a gold medal/bottle opener to be awarded to a paddler who works the river the most at each event!
We’ve had three events thus far – the Lower Green, the Tuck Gorge, and most recently, the Nantahala Gorge. I’m excited about the turnouts and the passion and energy of the women who are showing up. We had 18 women on the Lower Green, 21 women on the Tuck Gorge, and 40 women on the Nantahala! We’ve raised $980.00 for the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund. We’re having a lot of fun and are looking forward to the next event on FB9, which will take place July 18. The schedule for the remaining events is as follows:
July 18 – Section 9 of the French Broad – Angela Como and Emily Yuratovac leading
July 25 – Pigeon River – Emily Shanblatt, Angela Como and Katie Dean leading
August 1 – Ocoee River – Anna Levesque, Emily Shanblatt and Angela Como leading
September 18 – Lower Gauley River – Laura Farrell, Adriene Levknecht, Maria Noakes leading
You can also check out the events on Facebook. Here are some photos of the events so far. I look forward to seeing you on the river at these events!