Swirling high water on the New River in Fayetteville, West Virginia got me pumped for the summer paddling season. Though heavy concentrations of silt churned the rapids a shade of brown like chocolate milk, a daytrip on a dozen miles of fast whitewater was all it took and I was hooked. I just wanted to paddle! My own enthusiasm for the sport was mirrored by an up-tick in sales of paddling equipment and accessories at the local shop in town Ace Adventure Gear. “We’re up remarkably from last year,” said assistant manager Brad Scott. “Some of it might be the economic downturn coming around. People might just want to recreate at something that doesn’t cost so much. It might even be because of the oil spill and people don’t want to go to the coast. Mainly I think it’s people who want to come in to learn a new sport.”
Jesse Kurzicki is one of those rare kids who loves eating his vegetables, and not just the peas and carrots his mom piles on his supper plate. The 7th grader enjoys garden produce he grows himself. “I grew up with gardens,” Kurzicki said. “Strawberry gardens my mom loves so much. And my dad who lives up north has a garden with corn and beans and carrots. All the green that comes from them, I think they’re great!” At 12 years-old Kurzicki is a member of the Sherman Middle School garden club. This after school program provides a small plot of land for the cultivation of vegetables. There students can grow everything from tomatoes to broccoli to cucumbers. But in addition to offering a fun outdoor activity, the garden club also helps young people acquire a taste and an appreciation for fresh nutritious food.