Paddling picker gifted gear

Vernon paddleboarding environmental champion Aaron Nasipayko has been cleaning debris from Okanagan lakes this spring and his efforts have inspired other community-minded people into action.

Castanet documented his efforts on Kal Lake, and the attention and awareness has since snowballed. The kilometres and activity took its toll on his gear.

On Thursday, the community responded by surprising Nasipayko with a brand new board and gear to continue his volunteer efforts. Colleen Dix, senior sustainability manager for Telus, spearheaded a drive to reward Nasipayko for his work and inspiration.

"I've been following Aaron's incredible pursuit of cleaning our shorelines with the one per cent challenge," Dix said. 

"This has all come together in the last 24 hours and I want to thank all of you for showing up today to show how much we love and support him. Thank you to Kevin and Michelle and Adrienne from Kalavida for helping to put this together."

Nasipayko was visibly moved by the presentation, but quickly brought the attention back to the work still needing to be done.

"It is so overwhelming, thank you," Nasipayko said after receiving the new board. "We need everyone's help. We need to continue. We've got along ways to go. We've done 25 per cent."

"Until you're out there and you actually get to experience it, you just don't know what it's like and what needs to be done to create change," Nasipayko said with a pause and a catch in his voice. "I recognize that all of you have been huge supporters and this can't stop. We need to take more pride in our lakes, for our children, for the next generation so they can all enjoy what we all enjoy."

The campaign gained steam after his Facebook post went viral. Nasipayko has been documenting his emotional journey there and on Instagram.

"This lake connects us all in so many. For me, it brings peace to my soul and I'm just giving back to the lakes what they give to me."

Castanet Staff

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