Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

September 20, 2013

Singles Kayaking for the Cause is unconventional

TRAVERSE CITY — Denise Worthington is too old for the bar dating scene and too young to spend the best years of her life alone.

“I’m single and it’s hard to meet single professionals,” said Worthington, a Traverse City nurse. “I’m in my 30s and all my friends are married and have kids.”

Hers was a common refrain at a recent Singles Kayaking for the Cause, a combination pub crawl, fundraiser and speed dating event via kayak. Worthington was among 14 participants from 20- to 60-something who bicycled from The River at Clinch Park to The Filling Station Microbrewery near Hull Park, where they broke the ice over pizza and beer samplers.

They then paired up aboard double kayaks for a route across the Boardman Lake and down the Boardman River, with several stops along the way for refreshments and to switch partners.

“You can tell a lot about someone from the way they paddle,” quipped Norm Bowbeer, 44, a human resources trainer from Traverse City.

Organizer Lisa Foley came up with the unconventional dating game last year while trying to raise money for a charity marathon. She partnered with Mike Sutherland, owner of The River livery in Glen Arbor and Traverse City, which provides cycles and kayaks and guides the event.

“It was my idea as a way to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time and to raise money,” said Foley, 41, an accountant and single woman from Traverse City. “The idea of speed dating is intriguing but I don’t like to keep switching tables at a bar. Here you’re enjoying the scenery and having some exercise. And there are four people at a table, so it’s not so uncomfortable.”

Singles donated a minimum of $50 each to participate, which Foley said will be divided up between local charities Single MOMM, the Women’s Resource Center and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

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