The Pocono lions club partnered with the United States Veteran Rowing and Kayaking program to bring the relaxation of the outdoors to service men and women here in Monroe County.
What they found was that it's very therapeutic, so what we did when we opened our division of rowing and kayaking, we expanded it to first responders, so it's open to police, fire, EMT's, anybody who has served in uniform," explains Mike Kummer, President of the Pocono Lions Club,
During the last year with Covid-19, organizers say the isolation was not good mentally. Especially for veterans. Those participating tell us it's good to be interacting with others with similar backgrounds.
"I think the social end of it, that's the part I personally missed the most and that's so important for the veterans to do that," said veteran, Frank McDevitt.
"It elates us, and makes us feel very euphoric that we have done something be able to be together. Of course we share some war stories," said Donald Jones, who is also a veteran.
Volunteer guides accompany everyone out on the lake and make sure all safety gear is on properly. The kayaking program isn't just for veterans and first responders. Those who are sight impaired are also welcome.
"They are not handicapped, they are very talented individuals and they have seized their independence," said Byron Jackson with, " Sights for Hope."
Damien Roman is one of the clients with, "Sights for Hope." He paddled his way across the lake at Tobyhanna State Park for the very first time.
"Being out here today is very heart warming to see all of these people who really care about you that don't really know you like that, take time out of their day to come help us and get some fresh air," said Roman.
Organizers hope to get everyone out on the water at least once a month through the fall. You can find details on how to sign up for the free program here.