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Professional kayaker Heather Herbeck lends support to Zonta Club

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According to KEYC-TV news reporter Maytal Levi on May 30, 2014, professional kayaker Heather Herbeck will participate in “The second annual Kayaking for a Cause” on Sunday, June 1, 2014. The event will be in Mankato, Minnesota, and hosted by Zonta Club (Zonta International) and Bent River Outfitter.

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“Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. With more than 30,000 members belonging to more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 66 countries and geographic areas, Zontians all over the world volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects, as well as scholarship programs aimed at fulfilling Zonta's mission and objectives.”

Zonta International has five objectives:

  • To improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local level through service and advocacy
  • To work for the advancement of understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions
  • To promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • To be united internationally to foster high ethical standards, to implement service programs, and to provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, their nations, and the world
  • Zonta International, its districts and its clubs are nonsectarian and nonpartisan.

Bent River Outfitter is an outdoor adventure outfitter located in Old Town Mankato, Minnesota. They rent kayaks, canoes, snowshoes and stand-up paddle boards (SUP) and specialize in guided trips throughout the Blue Earth County river valley. Bent River also provide custom activities including corporate outings, team building events, friend and family trips, eco tours, yoga, paddling lessons and much more!

“Bent River Outfitter consists of three families who have a passion for the outdoors and love the river systems of southern Minnesota. The families saw a need in the community for a healthy “off the beaten path” activity for people to enjoy so they collaborated their ideas and individual efforts to create Bent River outfitter. The outfitter has been a labor of love and the families strive to offer a unique experience with every tour.”

Heather Herbeck, who now lives in Hood River, Oregon informed news reporter Maytal Levi “It's cool to come back to the area that I grew up in and not only do something that I absolutely love, which is kayaking, but to do it with women."

In his May 30, 2014 coverage of the event, reporter Tanner Kent of The Free Press in Mankato refers to Heather Herbeck as the “Queen of Kayak” (Queen of kayak: Mankato native and pro kayaker returns for charitable cause).

According to Kent “Having claimed a share of a women's world record in 2009 for navigating an 85-foot drop in her kayak, Heather Herbeck should have no problem navigating the relatively placid waters of the Blue Earth River.”

Adding, “Herbeck is returning this weekend to participate in the Zonta Club of Mankato's Kayaking for a Cause. The event — which includes a kayak trip from Rapidan Dam to Sibley Park — raises money to provide scholarships for college-aged women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math as well as allow younger girls to attend Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) camps.”

This is not the first time Herbeck supported causes that empower women. According to Tanner Kent “In addition to serving as an instructor and guide, Herbeck started FLUX, an organization that seeks to empower women through outdoor experiences. She also works with First Descents, which provides kayaking experiences to cancer survivors

Heather offers a modest explanation for her support of organizations like Zonta International. "To be able to connect with just hanging out with a bunch of women is pretty cool for me. Being with a group of women is just really empowering. We go and we enjoy ourselves and we just socialize."

Kelli Damlo, a member of Zonta agrees with Herbeck "Women can make such a huge impact on the world."

Furthermore, according to Damlo, "I don't know exactly why it is, but for some reason when women are together in the same group, we feel like we can do more." However, according to Damlo "I think our goal is limitless, but we would definitely like more support."

Regarding her efforts to encourage women engage in kayaking and other outdoor experiences, Heather explains to Tanner Kent "When I started out, there weren't a lot of women," Herbeck said. "And I thought, 'I can totally do it.' ... There is something about being outdoors that just changes you. I've seen lots of lives shaped and formed and changed by the sport."

It costs $100 to take part. The money raised goes toward a scholarship and summer camp at South Central College focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or the STEM program. Donations Are Always Welcome

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