A movement in Ohio is getting kids outdoors bigtime. As part of June’s Ohio River Paddlefest in Coney Island, the 6th Annual Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo, presented by the Hamilton County Park District and RiverWorks Discovery, has become perhaps the largest one-day water safety and environmental education program for children in the entire country.
“We had over 4,000 kids participate, most from low income households,” says event organizer Brewster Rhoads, who also printed 50,000 outdoors guides distributed to area schools, camps, rec centers, libraries, outdoor stores, liveries, health clubs and churches. “It got more kids outside than we ever expected.”
With presentations every half hour at the Kids Expo, the event was designed to let children of all walks sample different outdoor activities. En route, the group also transported a record breaking 2,200 paddlers in approximately 1700 canoes and kayaks for the largest paddling event in the country.
“We literally gave thousands of children and adults (and even some dogs) experiences that will make lasting impressions – and make all of us better stewards of our environment,” he adds. “With the exception of a few 5 minute downpours, it was a perfect day with engaging exhibitors, wonderful volunteers and fun for all.”
He adds that the towboat from Ingram Barge Company was a special hit as was the fishing and the Zumba for Kids. “And everyone loved the paddling on Lake Como,” he says.