It was no small feat, but after five years of making her case, 20 year-old Yasiria finally convinced her grandmother to take a paddle with her on the Tidal Cooper River.
A junior at Rowan University, Yasiria is now in her fifth summer as an UrbanPromise RiverGuide, holding a leadership role.
After years of training, there are not many people in Camden more qualified than Yasiria to take someone out on the Cooper. Still, her grandmother, Dalmy, was too nervous to step into the boat and launch onto the water.
Born in Puerto Rico, Dalmy moved to Camden as a young adult. She had never learned to swim. The idea of getting out on the water, in a canoe, was simply overwhelming.
“I had sent her pictures before and even did FaceTime from the boat, but she didn’t want to come. This year, I was telling her every day for a couple of weeks… ‘you know, the paddle is coming up soon’,” Yasiria shared. “Even when she got there, she was so nervous that she didn’t want to get out of the car until she saw me.”
And with Yasiria’s help, Dalmy did it!
The two paddled around by Pyne Point Park. “She said it was peaceful and she was enjoying it,” Yasiria reflected. “She was grateful for the experience.”
Dalmy’s story is common in Camden. Many residents are either concerned about getting on the water, and others simply don’t know that the opportunity exists! That is why our young RiverGuides take hundreds of area residents out on the water each year, raising awareness, promoting stewardship, and encouraging use of the local waterways.
“I’m glad that she enjoyed it and that it got her out of her comfort zone. I also hope she understands now why I come home tired everyday!”
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