Courtney Leigh,
Volunteer and Adult Education Coordinator

On July 15th, 2017 CBEC hosted its first annual Paddlepalooza. This 3-mile safety-supported paddle (canoe, kayak, or SUP) circumnavigating CBEC’s peninsula was held to raise funds for our expanding Kayak Wetland Education Programs. We raised a total of $6,000 to be used for a new fleet of kayaks and associated gear, upgrades to our kayak dock, and continued safety training and equipment for our Kayak Instructors.

Celebrating the survival of Paddlepalooza 2017, Courtney Leigh, Volunteer and Adult Education Coordinator and Carla Slye, CBEC Volunteer, dance to the music of What’s Her Face and The Stuff!

When planning an event of this nature, you consider what could go wrong and you back out of that scenario and set into motion the practices to protect life and property, just in case bad things happen. This is exactly what happened on July 15th when out of an otherwise clear forecast came a rare waterspout sighting and tornado warning near Kent Narrows. With over 100 people on the water in boats, kayaks, SUPs, and canoes, the professional emergency responders and volunteers of our area stepped into action. The Queen Anne’s County Emergency Response Team (lead by David Rivett), the Kent Island and Grasonville Volunteer Fire Companies, MD DNR, the KI Sail and Power Squadron, the QAC Amateur Radio Club, and 40 CBEC volunteers all worked together to account for every soul exposed to a potentially life-threatening situation.

Stand Up Paddleboarders were challenged by the increase of chop in the Narrows, especially with dog in tow!

These organizations began the planning process with CBEC back in the Fall of 2016, and the worst weather event suddenly materialized in the middle of an otherwise fun and relaxing event on Saturday afternoon. Had these people not planned, been briefed, trained, and assigned exactly what to do in case of an emergency, this letter would have had a far different tone.

Kayakers take rest at the halfway point on CBEC’s Beach!

We live in a very special place that is Queen Anne’s County and it is the dedicated people of our community who make this statement ring true as one reflects on an adventure that could have had another outcome! Thank you to all who kept us safe that day, and thank you for your continued service to our community.

When the weather cleared, and the paddle was over, a celebration of our efforts commenced at the Lakeside Pavilion with a Live Band, Food and Beer Truck, and a variety of vendors offering treasures to buy and activities for the kids!

A pack of paddlers round the “Nostril” of the peninsula.

We look forward to engaging more people in our mission of stewardship and sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and to planning and preparing for another safe and successful Paddlepalooza 2018 next year:

SAVE THE DATE: JULY 14th, 2018!