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Paddling around the pool a hit at Snyder YMCA

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 12:26 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Abby Greenbaum, of Kittanning, demonstrates the use of her paddle board at the Richard G. Snyder YMCA in Kittanning, Tuesday August 13, 2013.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Marcus Montebell, 6, takes a cruise on a 10-foot paddle board at the Richard G. Snyder YMCA in Kittanning, Tuesday August 13, 2013.

KITTANNING – Marcus Montebell, 6, was all smiles poolside at the Richard G. Snyder YMCA Tuesday when asked if he wanted to take a turn on a 10-foot Cruiser paddle board.

This wouldn't be the first time for Marcus to paddle board, so it didn't take him long to move from the beginning kneeling position to standing and balancing on the board's center as he paddled through the water like a pro.

Marcus, who is the son of Gary and Lisa Montebell, learned how to paddle board during the Y's day camp this summer.

YMCA CEO Joely Beeker said Y staff and board members decided to incorporate paddle board lessons into the day camp program after seeing a presentation last year from representatives of a Pittsburgh-based stand up paddle boarding group called RiseSUP.

Abby Greenbaum, of Kittanning, owned the paddle board that Marcus was trying out on Tuesday.

She said she started paddle boarding two years ago and discovered that it was a fun workout.

The activity is good for strengthening core muscles and improving balance.

“It's challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy,” she said.

And now, thanks to a partnership with HEALTHY Armstrong, the YMCA will be able to purchase six paddle boards for next year's programming and provide lessons to a lot more folks.

HEALTHY Armstrong, which stands for Healthy Eating Active Lifestyles Together Helping Youth, has used remaining funds left over from the $1 million federal Physical Education Program (PEP) grant to purchase the boards.

The grant was awarded to HEALTHY Armstrong to promote health and physical activity for families and youth within the county.

“Our goal was to use this (grant) for – not only schools – but for the whole community,” said HEALTHY Armstrong Director Kay Owen.

Owen noted that the Allegheny River is a huge asset and resource for the community, which makes paddle boarding a natural fit for the area.

“The great thing about paddle boards is that they can be used on the river,” said Owen.

Marcus said he would try out paddle boarding on the river as long as he was certain there were no alligators or sharks in there.

Y members ready to take up the challenge will have an opportunity to learn how to paddle board on the river by the Mariner Restaurant from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

According to Bryce Kuhn, program director, groups of four will be taken out on the river by an instructor for 90-minute intervals.

Beeker said this will be the last paddle boarding lesson of the year but the Y will open up next year's lessons to include non-members.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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