Boat Launch 2023 on June 10 at Cooper River Yacht Club

When the forecast called for rain, Kelly Maxted smiled and said, “that would be very British.”

That was last June when with the lovely London-like soft rain splashing on the Cooper River, Kelly and her husband, Luke, and their two young sons launched the 16-foot cedar strip canoe that they had helped build at the Urban BoatWorks shop in South Camden during 2022.

“When all of the volunteers came to see us finally put the boat in the water, I felt a true sense of pride,” Kelly said. “I was proud that I had learned to build the boat, but I felt even more proud that these volunteers all turned up to celebrate with me, despite the rain and cold, everyone was so excited.

“It felt good to achieve something from the start to the end and have people cheering us on the whole time. I was so happy that they felt proud of what I had helped to make and achieve. These guys are the true heart of the boat shop.”

Kelly and Luke finished the UrbanPromise Fellows’ program last June and returned to London to start Urban Promise UK just three days after the launch.

“It was great to get the boat on the water, I didn't think that we would make it,” Luke said. “The weather was perfect for a British boat and it felt homely to be close to the water. It was a good thing to do as a family too. I am really grateful to John Dick (volunteer) for finding a rope so that our kids could paddle together.

“I didn't think that we'd get them out of the boat. There's a freedom that comes with sitting on the water, a boat can take you anywhere."

On June 10, three more canoes built by Fellows will be launched at the Cooper River Yacht Club. The festivities start at 9 a.m. and UrbanPromise staff, friends are welcome as well as all the cohorts and volunteers who helped on the boat builds.