Kayaks Stolen: Youth Summer Program in Jeopardy

By Cheryl La Rosa Longo,Executive Director
Tuesday April 24, 2012 - 07:08:00 PM

The Berkeley Boosters report that a trailer with twelve ocean kayaks has been stolen and that their summer outdoor youth program may now be in jeopardy. 

The kayaks, property of the California Police Activities League (CalPAL), were located in a parking lot owned by the City of Berkeley but leased to the Berkeley Water Ski Club. 

CalPAL notified the Berkeley Boosters on April 13, 2012 that the Oakland PD had notified CalPAL that life jackets with the insignia of CalPAL had been found in an Oakland dumpster. Booster’s staff immediately went to the storage lot located in the far north end of Aquatic Park to find the trailer and kayaks missing. 

“Our most urgent concern is for the disappointment of our youth who are in the process of signing up for our summer programs now. The Kayak program is one of our most popular outdoor education programs.” said Booster Executive Director, Cheryl La Rosa Longo. 

The Berkeley Boosters had been storing the kayaks in this same lot for the past four years without incident. 

Gregg Wilson, Executive Director for California PAL notified the Berkeley Boosters this morning, April 25, 2012, that CalPAL insurance would not cover the loss and that the Berkeley Boosters were responsible to replace the trailer and dozen kayaks. 

The Berkeley Boosters did not insure for loss of the CalPAL equipment because they do not own the stolen items. 

John Abrate, Assistant VP, Priority Banking, Union Bank (Berkeley) is President of the Berkeley Boosters Board, “This loss is obviously a major blow for the Booster Kids. The financial impact of replacing the stolen equipment could bankrupt the program which is already cash strapped due to reductions in City of Berkeley funding.” 

The Berkeley Boosters PAL, serves middle and high school youth primarily from South and West Berkeley. In many cases, youth participating in the Berkeley Boosters after school and summer outdoor programs find that having access to bicycles and kayaks through the program is their only opportunity to experience biking and kayaking. Over fifty percent of Berkeley Booster youth are from families at or below the poverty line.