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11
Sep

Water Sports Weekend with HEROUSA and Forest and the Evergreens

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It is truly a shame that August can’t just magically have two more weekends so there can be one last HEROUSA Water Sports Weekend this year.

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, HEROUSA with help from Wakeopolis, Forest and the Evergreens, Cuco’s Taqueria and Seventh Son Brewery, created a perfect setting for the quintessential remedy to an “I don’t want to go back to school” Ohio late summer day. Offering kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding, fishing and good old fashioned swimming, there was opportunity for folks of any and all ages to be active and stay cool while playing in the sun.

HEROUSA is a 501(c)3 organization that formed in 2009 with the mission of providing education and access to sports and activities for children facing social, physical and economic obstacles. Co-founders Michael Bain and Domenic Buccilla formed relationships with local Columbus youth groups to provide opportunity and exposure to things most kids never see, let alone get to try. And provide they have.  

August 2010 was the inaugural Water Sports Weekend (WSW) event held at Alum Creek State Park. Over the next few years HEROUSA formed a lasting bond with local Marysville, Ohio business Wakeopolis and the seed of the true potential of WSW was planted. This year, there were three events held, one each in June, July and August, all inviting groups of kids and families of all ages, sizes and walks of life. Columbus youth organizations, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers | Big Sisters of Central Ohio and The Gladden Community House all showed up early and stayed late, not wanting the fun to end. There is something amazing about watching a kid who is completely terrified of water at the beginning of the day, actually end up running off a dock with reckless abandon or get up on a wakeboard, that magical thing that only exists in sports videos with skater punks and action junkies to a lot of middle America. All made possible by fantastic volunteers and within the space of a few hours. Simple pleasures like this are too few and far between these days.

This iteration of Water Sports Weekend, Food and Music Edition basically cooked a full course meal, set the table, washed your hands for you, laid your napkin in your lap, served up the goodies and cleaned the dishes for everyone who attended. The weather was absolutely perfect. Seventh Son Brewery provided a couple of tasty beer options and Columbus’ very own Cuco’s Taqueria provided a food truck full of delicious fuel for everyone via tacos (I had the fish which were out of this world), quesadillas and burritos. The ambiance and music was handled gently, properly, righteously, perfectly by local favorite Forest and the Evergreens. This up and coming group of young, uber-talented guys is hungry and rightfully so. They mesh perfectly, and although it’s difficult to categorize what type of music they play, it’s safe to assume that if you like reggae, jazz, soul, r&b, folk, funk, pop or rock, you will enjoy seeing them live or just listening to them while you live your life. They played original songs as well as covers of classic artists like Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo and Sam Cooke. Covers like you haven’t heard before with crisp reggae beats and bass lines (feel it in da one drop), Santana-like guitar licks and ultra-smooth-like-Jamiroquai vocals. This band is about to blow up and someday, I think my grandkids will be impressed when I say I saw them.

The only thing that could make WSW better is if more folks knew about it. This fundraising event is a hidden gem. Where else would you get the chance to support a local charity while also spending a summer day at a lake, all water sports equipment provided, and accoutrements galore? How about let’s make up a new half-month Augtember? Anyone else besides me already looking past another Ohio winter and forward to the first Water Sports Weekend 2015?

Observations:

  • The cost was $20/adults $10/child for an all-day event with all proceeds going directly to the local charity that set the entire thing up with the help of a huge team of fantastic volunteers. There is so much involved in making sure that the safety and enjoyment of the attendees is of top priority and this organization has some very dedicated and capable people, just like you and me, who donate their time and positive energy to providing these opportunities.
  • HEROUSA is putting on one more event this summer – Paddle in the City, Buckeye Edition – on September 13, 2014. This is a paddle down the Olentangy River that will be starting just north of OSU Campus and will end in the Arena district. Check out their Facebook page for more details and how to register.
  • Wakeopolis is a private 4 acre lake that was created specifically to support the wakeboarding habit of owner Tyler Dunham. It features a cable pulley system that pulls people back and forth on a wakeboard so no boat is needed. There are docks and swimming areas as well as just a lot of room to paddle around in various watercraft (canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards), picnic tables and a grill – all perfectly good reasons to convince your friends and family to join you for a sublime summer day. Check them out on the web or Facebook.
  • HEROUSA not only spoils sun loving folk by celebrating water sports but they also help the children of winter never grow up with events all through the season, focusing on skiing and snowboarding at Mad River Mountain. Watch their website for details starting in December 2014.
  • I can’t say enough about how the band added to the fantastic factor for the day. You can tell that Forest and the Evergreens just click as genuine people and this shows in their obvious pleasure to just make music. Their moniker is very apropos in that this is a tight knit team, greater as a whole rather than as individual parts. There is no guy named Forest as the front man, no gimmicks or costumes or dress code, but rather just five super talented guys who have similar grooves, allowing us to experience their version of what the world should sound like. It’s very honest and I love it. Check their website or on Bandcamp and go see them live!!

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Written by: Kimmy Yo

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