July 3, 2019

Clearwater’s ‘LGBTQ+ Allies’ Youth Empowerment Program Accepting Participants

BEACON, NY – Hudson River Sloop Clearwater will welcome up to 25 participants onboard the sloop from July 9th thru July 11th for a three-day program providing LGBTQ youth with a one of a kind experience of scenic beauty, bonding, and personal achievement. Clearwater first launched this groundbreaking environmental education and leadership training program for youth who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Allies in 2009. This is a free program to participants and funded through grant and private donor support.

In addition to sailing and exploring topics focused on the Hudson River, program participants learn about the development of the environmental and LGBTQ+ movements and how to be a leader in both. Former Clearwater crew members who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community will be returning to talk about their experiences. Additional guest speakers will discuss community leadership, personal challenges, and the opportunities open to LGBTQ+ youth. This year’s roster of guest speakers includes former Clearwater Captain and Board President, Betsy Garthwaite.

Queerwater gives people who don’t always have a space to fully be themselves a chance to bond, let down their guard, and push their limits,” said Keene Morrow, Clearwater’s Sail Program and Logistics Manager. “People get to learn more about themselves and their community and see the breadth of opportunity for where you can go with environmental activism, all while sailing on one of the most beautiful rivers in the country.”

While it is officially called LGBTQ+Allies Youth at the Helm, many people call this program Queerwater.  The name originated in the Eighties when the first large cohort of out LGB crewmembers worked on the Clearwater.  When the crews of other boats in the area started calling the boat Queerwater in response, this crew embraced the name and now it serves as the unofficial name of Clearwater’s Youth Empowerment Program for the LGBTQ+ community.

In addition to the upcoming LGBTQ+Allies program, Clearwater hosts Young Women at the Helm and Young Men at the Helm programs in August. Open to 15-18 year olds, program days are spent sailing on the Sloop while exploring river ecology, water quality, and navigation. At night, participants camp on shore, meet with guest speakers, and relax alongside the beautiful Hudson River. All three of Clearwater’s Youth Empowerment Programs are currently accepting applications. For more information or to apply to participate, visit

To become a member of Clearwater or make a donation to support these programs visit or call 845-265-8080. Learn more through the program’s event page on Facebook.

About Hudson River Sloop Clearwater 

Launched in 1969 by legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been at the forefront of the environmental movement as champions of the Hudson River. To date, more than half a million people have experienced their first real look at an estuary’s ecosystem aboard the sloop Clearwater. Clearwater has become the grassroots model for producing positive changes to protect our planet. For more information, visit