by Cody Olivas
Mail Staff Writer
Past FIBArk commodores got together last year and started the FIBArk Commodore Scholarship Fund as a way to help a local youth get into boating, or continue boating, who otherwise might not be able to do so.
The commodores donated money out of their own pockets to create the scholarship, which is earmarked specifically for gear.
This year, the commodores are honoring their first scholarship winner: Travis Frazier, who will enter eighth grade in the fall.
It was Frazier’s drive to learn kayaking the last two years in the youth paddling club, as well as the exceptional comfort he’s shown in the water, that helped the commodores choose him for the scholarship so he can continue kayaking.
FIBArk and Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center jointly run the youth paddling club, which aims to provide a safe and accessible foundation of whitewater skills.
With the money the commodores donated, FIBArk Secretary Alli Gober bought Frazier all of the gear he needs to run down rivers. Frazier is getting a used boat that’s in good condition as well as a spray skirt, paddle and a personal flotation device.
Gober said he can use the boat until he outgrows it or wants to sell it back, and then FIBArk will buy the boat back, if it’s still in decent condition, so Frazier can use that money to get another new boat.
The commodores plan to continue offering the need-based scholarship in the future. Depending on the need in a given year, Gober said they might award two scholarships or none.
“It’s a really cool program,” Gober said. “We encourage all commodores to get together and say hi, but also to donate to the program.”
Frazier will be recognized at the FIBArk kickoff, which takes place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at Salida SteamPlant, 220 W. Sackett Ave.