Monday, June 29, 2020

Erin Hillert
Marketing & Communications Manager
James River Association

James River Association Offers Free Paddle Trips to Hospital Workers

For months, Virginia hospital workers have been challenged like never before, putting their lives on the line and working long hours battling Covid-19. Even as the Commonwealth phases into the third stage of re-opening and numbers of newly diagnosed patients thankfully decline in Virginia, the global pandemic is still very much present, and hospital workers still fight on.

The James River Association (JRA), a local non-profit dedicated to protecting and acting as guardian of the James River for more than 44 years, wants to thank hospital workers for their time and service by offering them a break to find solace and relaxation on the river. This new program, called James River Relief, launches today, Monday, June 29, for hospital workers across the watershed.

“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. The mental and physical health benefits of the outdoors will allow these heroes to find healing, solace, and rest after months of stress,” said Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD, MHCM.
“I am grateful to the James River Association for their support of the health care community.”

James River Relief will provide more than 100 paddle trip & rental options to doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff on the frontlines through 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 will also 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.

JRA Board Member, Polly McConnell, conceived the idea for James River Relief during a committee meeting where members and staff were brainstorming ideas of how to give back to the community during Covid-19: “Paddling on the river is a form of therapy. 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 and to spread the word to hospital workers in the James River watershed, visit


The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you.” With offices in Lynchburg, Scottsville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it.