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Lake Clare sees resurgence of use

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CLASS: Astand-up paddle boarding class makes its way toward the shore after spending nearly an hour working out and doing yoga on Lake Clare.
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PADDLE: Aden Richardsonlowers his center of gravity by kneeling on his paddle board as he makes his way toward the shore.

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Lake Clare sees its fair share of anglers, with the occasional kayak or canoe atop the calm water, but within the past month, it’s seen a rise in regular recreation.

Since the public beach closed indefinitely, less people have enjoyed the property, but locals have been brainstorming ways to reuse the lake and regain the natural public resource.

As you drive by the lake today, you may see people standing on the water’s surface as they take part in the YMCA’s new public stand-up paddle boarding classes, which rolled out in mid-June.

The last time Theresa Richardson touched the water was in fifth grade, but recently she took her son, Aden, out to enjoy a hot, sunny summer day paddling across the lake, taking time to reminisce on her past experiences there.

“It was really nice,” she said as she explained how the class explored the lake and did some yoga on their boards. “It was interesting to see how much it’s changed because it used to be very populated. Now it’s just fishing.”

Theresa began her paddle boarding career taking classes indoors at the YMCA this past winter, but now that she’s experienced the sport outside, her love for the sport has increased.

“When the wind is coming at you, it makes it harder, but during the inside class, we do burpees, jumping up and down off the board – that was definitely good training,” she said. “But overall this was more of a relaxing workout.”

Instructor Andrea Storms said paddle boarding has improved her life because it’s a holistic approach to health and wellness, providing a solid full-body workout while also allowing time to practice mindfulness and reflect.

“Too often we don’t get a chance to sit still or we’re almost afraid to sit still sometimes, so this gives us an opportunity to just be still – not necessarily in a traditional way, but it allows you to take in the outdoors and God’s creation.”

Aden, who had never been on a paddle board before or spent time on the water at Lake Clare, said he was happy to see something new being offered in Huntington, especially since it gave him an unexpected chance to cool off from the 90 degree temperatures.

“Falling took me by surprise, but the fall was more shocking than the water itself,” he said. “I can’t lie. The water did feel good.”

While swimming is still not allowed in the lake, Storms said she is excited to carry on a tradition of recreating on the waters that has run in her family for generations.

“There are sentimental reasons for this as well. Knowing that my papa and uncle have been out here and to know that I am helping to carry on (Lake Clare’s) tradition means a lot to me,” she said.

She teamed up with former YMCA executive director Ben Davis and the Huntington Township Trustee EJ Carroll to make the program happen, after she moved back from Missouri with a passion for the sport.

She asked the Y to use its pool over the winter to continue training, and next thing she knew, the program was beginning to take shape.

“It was meant to be. We were meant to be back out here, opening the lake up to a different sport for people,” she said.

The public can sign up for classes, which are held each Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at the YMCA, 1160 W. 500 N. or by calling (260) 359-9622.

There are three different kinds of classes: yoga, float and combination which merges yoga with floats across the lake.

Yoga is held on Monday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. Floats are held on Monday and Wednesday at noon. Combination classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.

Seven or more classes are offered at a discounted rate of $10 for members and $18 for the public. Any less than seven classes are $15 for members and $23 for nonmembers.

Pre-registration is required, and participants must be at least 14 years old.