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James River Association offers free paddle trips to hospital workers

James River Association offers free paddle trips to hospital workers

Only $5 for 5 months

The James River Association, a local nonprofit, is offering hospital workers a break to find solace and relaxation on the river with free paddle trips.

The new program, called James River Relief, launched Monday for hospital workers across the James River watershed as a way to show appreciation for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The James River Relief program takes care of those who have been courageously taking care of our communities. Our health care workers have been on the front lines since the beginning of this crisis, and we are deeply grateful for their unwavering dedication to the well-being of Virginians,” Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey said in a news release. “The mental and physical health benefits of the outdoors will allow these heroes to find healing, solace, and rest after months of stress.”

Carey said he is grateful to the association for its support of the health care community.

James River Relief will provide more than 100 paddle trip and rental options to doctors, nurses and other hospital staff by partnering with several regional outfitters, include Riverside Outfitters and RVA Paddlesports in Richmond, James River Reeling & Rafting in Scottsville and Rivanna River Company in Charlottesville.

The program also will provide trips through JRA’s outfitter, James River Adventures in Lynchburg, and through JRA’s Connect with the James programs in Richmond, Hopewell and James City County.

Hospital workers can select their outfitter and sign up for a free paddle through July 13 (or while spots last) by filling out a form on JRA’s website. They will be asked to provide their name, address and the hospital where they work. After they sign up, they will be emailed a code to book their trip or rental for free.

“Paddling on the river is a form of therapy,” said Polly McConnell, a JRA board member who the release said conceived the idea for the program. “It allows us to relax and allows the river to take care of us, if only for a few hours.”

To learn more about James River Relief visit

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

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