2010-09-24 / Letters

Appreciate The Coverage

Dear Editor,

On behalf of Sebago Canoe Club, I would like to express our appreciation to The Wave for its coverage of our summer events, particularly the All- Club Invitational (July 23 issue). Thank you also to the residents of the Rockaways who visited our club to paddle, row, or sail with us over the summer.

We are an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization whose members have been the leading advocates for improved public access to Jamaica Bay since 1960, long before it was fashionable. Our club’s involvement in humanpowered boating on New York’s waterways dates back to 1933. Sebago’s members have contributed thousands of hours of volunteer labor and the club has invested over $150,000 in grant funds and member dues to make improvements to our Canarsie dock and clubhouse, which is open to the public on weekends and Wednesday evenings throughout the summer. We invite you to join us for a paddle at our club next summer, to learn how we are helping make public waterfront access not just a PLAN, but a reality in several NYC neighborhoods!

As an example, fellow Sebago officer Tony Pignatello and I came to Rockaway Beach in August and assisted Jill Weber, Rockaway Parks Administrator, and Gateway Bike and Boathouse volunteers from the peninsula, with the first official paddle out of the newest NYC Water Trail launch site at Beach 88 Street and Beach Channel Drive. We are pleased to say that the kayaking conditions there are favorable and residents of the area can look forward to enjoying the site once the DEP remediation process has been completed.

Our club also provided critical assistance over the past two years, with Gateway National Recreation Area’s launch of public kayaking programs at Canarsie Pier and on the Rockaway peninsula. Our members have also enjoyed providing free paddling experiences to hundreds of youth from the surrounding communities, including the Rockaway peninsula, since the summer of 2008.

Although our club is located in Brooklyn, scores of our member-volunteers have spent countless hours, on at least five occasions over the past few summers, sharing their knowledge of paddling and critical safety skills with Rockaway youth and other residents.

What people often do not see is that these Sebago volunteers spend many hours loading and unloading trailers and carloads of kayaks, paddles and lifejackets at our Brooklyn clubhouse, plus washing all of the boats and equipment used by the youth when the paddles are over. Not all of our members have been acknowledged by name when articles appeared in The Wave in the past, perhaps due to lack of space, so we are today forwarding the complete list of our member-volunteers who assisted with our club’s summer youth paddles, and request that it be printed.

Volunteers included: Tom Anderson, Shari Berkowitz, Vivian Carter, Mike Chandler, Jerry Dunne, Mary Eyster, Matt Frey, Phil Giller, Gerard Grillo, Anne and Gary Gorman, John Harris, Vickie Moss, Ilene Levenson, John Huntington, Walter Lewandowski, Lori Gralnick, Jake Monahan, Andy Novick, Dan Olsen, Tom Potter, Laurie Prendergast, Dennis Quigley, Kevin Rogers, Chris Russo, David Rybstein, Nina Sabghir, Roseanne Seibert, Denis Sivack, Marty Small, Barbara Tarnoff and Jay Touger.

Hail Rockaway!

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