Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy introduces children to boating and water sports


Pictured from left to right: Jared M., Layloni M., Jenna Thompson, Family Services Specialist, Genese B., Dante, Paddles By The Sea Instructor, Tramya W., and Rayne A.

This summer, children attending Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy experienced surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and boating for the first time ever, thanks to a partnership with Paddles By The Sea. Paddles By The Sea owner Chris Woodruff and his team took the kids under their wing and shared their love for the water, while providing them with a summer they will never forget.

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy teenagers hit the beach at Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa and were taught how to surf, with every one of them being able to stand up on the board by the end of the session. While some were getting surf lessons, others took to the seas with stand-up paddleboards and ocean kayaks and paddled around in the waves. After the activities, the kids relaxed in a shaded cabana on the beach. A group of younger children went for an exciting boat ride on the Indian River Lagoon, where they spotted a pod of dolphins and learned about the local ecosystem.

“Chris and his team made some incredible memories for our kids this summer,” said Phil Barnes, Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy Executive Director.  “Community partnerships like these broaden our students’ horizons and introduce them to new experiences and interests. We can’t thank Paddles By The Sea enough for their time, expertise, and impact on our kids.”

Would you like to change a child’s life this summer?  Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy is currently running a 9-week Summer Camp for children ages 5-18 from low-income families.  Children receive breakfast and lunch and participate in mentoring programs that include weekly themes, such as:  Water World, the Great Outdoors, and Messy Art. Financial assistance is needed to help subsidize the program, which is free to families. The cost to send a child to Summer Camp is $200. To sponsor a child, call 772-492-3933 or visit our website at

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy is dedicated to enriching the lives of Indian River County youth through mentoring relationships that inspire trust, self-esteem, and positive futures. Founded in 1973, Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy serves children ages 5-18 from low-income families.

Children receive daily meals and participate in one-on-one and group mentoring programs that include cooking, sewing, trade skills, life skills, STEAM, tutoring, community service, and more. All programming occurs after school and during the summer, and it is completely free for families. If you are interested in learning more about Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy, please call 772.492.3933, or visit our website at

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