Two brothers from Virginia are stroking in the right direction to help get kids outdoors. Right now, somewhere in far northern Maine, brothers Ben and Liam Malakoff are near the completion of their 350-mile journey on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail to raise awareness of the need to get more young people outside and healthy….
“Canoe for the Kids” is the brainchild of these young men from northern Virginia who are seeking to raise $10,000 to support the Northern Forest Explorers youth program which takes young people from the rural communities in the region on five-day paddling and camping adventures.
Ben is a recent college graduate and former intern of the non-profit Northern Forest Canoe Trail and Liam is a competitive whitewater paddler. As part of his internship, Ben joined a gathering of young people from around the nation to help raise awareness of what has been called “nature deficit disorder”, the result of America’s young people no longer spending hours at play in the outdoors. This Outdoor Nation campaign was launched by members of the outdoor industry in response to this alarming trend and as a way to connect young people in a community to help raise awareness and increase youth participation in outdoor activities.
Leading an effort in our region, Northern Forest Explorers engages young people in learning and activity on five-day paddling trips on the rivers and lakes of the Adirondacks, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. This year, trips in the four states will help enrich the lives of more than 200 young people. The Malakoff brothers are actively working to tell this story to their contemporaries and have been raising funds to donate to this program via an online campaign. Support from Old Town Canoe is helping to make their trip possible with the donation of a canoe for their several-week journey which will take them on such storied Maine waters as Flagstaff and Moosehead lakes and the Allagash and St. John rivers.
The 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the longest paddling trail in the nation and runs from Old Forge, New York through Vermont, Québec, and New Hampshire to Fort Kent, Maine. Info: www.northernforestcanoetrail.org