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Offseason Training

November 3, 2017
Senator Dembrow and Willie Levenson at the Kevin Duckworth Dock
Senator Dembrow and Willie Levenson at the Kevin Duckworth Dock

We have officially hit the HAP offseason. What an amazing season it was! Thank you for being a part of it! So much accomplished, so much fun. I feel like I am witnessing an awakening in our community – can you see it too?


As Ringleader I tested my limits and pushed myself as far as my body and mind would allow. It feels great knowing I gave it all I could, that the work yielded positive results, and so many new friends were made in the process. But it’s all ya’ll participating collectively that gives our stream force and fun. It’s you talking, you playing. It’s both words and action. It’s proof our democracy is not dead and it is indeed possible to enact positive change in our local communities. It’s hope.


Finishing our last couple of gambits of the season – including the re-envisioning of the Kevin Duckworth Dock and the opening of Audrey McCall Beach, I am feeling a little tired but also very hopeful for next summer and beyond. Now is too soon to think about next season. It’s time to take a quick breath, pause a moment for reflection. By next month our team will grow restless and contemplation will develop into ambition and dreams, which lead to schemes, light and fancy.


Next year’s efforts will begin next month with our first winter fundraiser, a screening of the 1951 Oscar-winning documentary “Kon-Tiki”, December 7th at the Hollywood Theatre (more on that in this newsletter).


HAP measures our success from summer to summer. This season in many ways was HAP’s coming out party. A well-attended Mayoral Swim, over 2,500 participants in The Big Float, tremendous growth with the River Hugger Swim Team, and an eclipse float to boot. A handful of initiatives we have been working on under the surface for years not only came to light but saw action and traction. Mayor Wheeler has championed HAP’s organizational vision of a “City in love with its river” as we collaborate with his office and other commissioners and bureaus on achieving this transformation. The key ingredient is action.


I draw a great amount of inspiration from Pete Seeger. He did not want people to listen to his music, he wanted people to sing along. To participate, to take action. Action for us is as simple as recreating in our beautiful river, inviting a friend to join, telling stories about how much fun you had, and educating people about not only how far we have to go, but how far we have come! 


It’s time to celebrate and take pride in our river, get more people engaged by creating greater access to it, and convert people from casual recreators to protectors of our river’s ecological health and vitality.


Thanks for your good vibes, support, and daring to dream of a City in Love with its River!