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City of Orange Beach hosting camps to get locals on the water


An Alabama city is hosting camps to get locals into nature this summer. The City of Orange Beach Wind and Water Learning Center is putting on several camps throughout the season, teaching participants about sailing kayaking and other water activities.

The camps cover important information for safety on the water, including capsizing, navigation, efficient paddling and right of way. Jackie McGonigal is a coordinator at the City of Orange Beach Wind and Water Learning Center. She said these camps are a great way to help people build a love for the nature that’s in their backyard.

“I think it's a great pathway towards environmental stewardship that having all of these outdoor recreation opportunities, I think, ultimately builds up people's sense of stewardship for them. And that's something that is becoming increasingly more important,” said McGonigal.

There are camps available for all age groups from age six to older, including Summer Sail Youth Camp. This camp goes over the sailing basics with younger campers and teaches them how to be safe on the water.

Camps are available for adults as well, including a camp called Full Moon Paddles. This class will feature kayaking, as well as catering, live music, and a perfect view of the sunset for attendees.

McGonigal added other class options such as an all-women’s sailing workshop and the American Canoe Association class for ages 16 and older.

“I think giving people access to our coastal waterways and providing positive experiences for them on the waters, it just will start to build a love for them and what's here in our backyard,” she explained.

McGonigal also mentioned various excursion sessions available, including Float and Flow, which takes place on Sunday mornings and features yoga on floating mats and Paddle and Paint, kayaking lessons, and an introduction to watercolor painting. She said she wants to see these programs bring the public out into the water and enjoy the nature around them.

“So, I think by having these really fun, awesome programs that create ways for people to get out into the bay, whereas they might not have had that chance before,” McGonigal said.

McGonigal said she hopes these camps inspire locals to take care of their waterways in the community. She noted that people only take care of the things they truly care about, so she said she wants to see the camps open people’s eyes to the beauty of the nature around them.

“As we get more and more people moving to our area and more development, we just need to find ways to be more aware of the quality of our water bodies and things that we can do to take care of them.”

Participants can register online at the City of Orange Beach’s official website:

Classes have started and will run through the summer season.

Alex Pfenenger is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. He is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Creative Media. He has a passion for creating audio content, which lead him to podcasting and radio work. In his free time, Alex enjoys watching sports, listening to music, and serving at the local church.
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