INDIANAPOLIS — Gear up and get outdoors as The White River Alliance glides towards their free paddle days event this Friday and Sunday, August 12 & 14th.

The free event has become an annual tradition of sorts, aiming at giving central Indiana Hoosiers the opportunity to explore the White River when their options at doing so previously may have been limited. 

You’ll need to register in advance to save your spot along with a fully refundable $20 deposit for each date. 

The paddle is not only fun but it’s a push from the alliance that Education and Outreach Coordinator for the White River Alliance Haley Cowart says will help raise public awareness. 

We wanna try and create that connection for them so that now they’ve got this connection with the White River, they feel inspired to protect it and see the importance in why we really want to work hard to keep it clean as it’s our main drinking resource and utility resource,” Cowart said.” “It’s really to get people’s attention and, you know, share this message about the value of water.”

Most free paddle days, including this weekend’s, launch from The White River Canoe Company in Noblesville off River Road. 

Those who participate will be briefed on safety instructions prior to launch where they will be provided life jackets, paddles and anything else needed. 

While not necessarily an event open to public participation but an outing focused on giving back to the people – Sunday August 14th at Jameson Camp in Indianapolis along Bridgeport Rd. will celebrate the grand opening of a 40-foot-pedestrian-bridge built by local Eagle Scout, Xavier Ntamere. 

Xavier, of local Troop 199 and 534 in Chicago, will cut the ribbon Sunday at 2 p.m. at the foot of the bridge he and dozens of volunteers helped construct over the course of the last three years. 

State Representative Gregory Porter and Scout Executive Jeff Isaac among others are slated to speak at the event. 

The $11,531 bridge spans a gap over a creek running through camp. 17-year-old Xavier raised the money, logged 766 hours and directed his volunteer group for his Eagle Scout Project. 

“I selected Jameson Camp because, after talking with the staff there, and learning more about what they provide to the community, I realized that we share a lot of similar values – and so I wanted to help them out,” Xavier said. “Thank you for your support, of course. I could not have done this by myself – it took not only people I know within scouting… but many organizations to come together and that was really an amazing thing to see over the course of three years.”

Xavier’s Eagle Scout Project has opened many doors for the 17-year-old, including an opportunity to compete in the NAACP hosted ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) in New Jersey where Xavier presented his project and placed third in the nation in engineering and received a scholarship.

What’s next? Xavier is a senior in high school and hopes to attend Howard University next year where he’ll study Civil Engineering as an aspiring Engineer. If you’d like to send Xavier a message of encouragement; email his mother at ebony.barney@gmail.com