Josh Kestelman Scholarship Fund

Rutabaga's Josh Kestelman Scholarship Fund is a central part of our ongoing commitment to make paddling accessible to all. We are committed to the idea that time on the water gives people a deeper connection to the natural world, to the waters that surround our community, and to themselves. Our scholarship fund is a critical part of our efforts to make sure that time on the water is available to anyone.

Each year Rutabaga partners with community groups all over Madison to get local youth out on the water. The money from the Kestelman Scholarship goes directly to community youth programs and individual families, who could otherwise not afford to go paddling, paying up to half their costs. This past season the Scholarship fund helped about 387 kids spend over 1,800 hours paddling.

Some examples of the groups that we partner with include: East Madison Community Center, Lussier Community Education Center, Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center East Side Express, and Briarpatch Youth Services.

Josh Kestelman was a dedicated instructor for our outdoor programs. His passion was to get youth on the water and the scholarship fund honors and supports the work he did to share his love of the water with others before his life was cut short by cancer.

The fund exists because members of our community, and paddlers from near and far, have given us the resources to keep serving kids. Every donation, large or small is a chance for more kids to get out on the water. A special thanks to our partners who gave significant contributions to our programming - Jeff Noltner with Positive Currents & Hooper Corporation, and IRONMAN Wisconsin.

For further information and scholarship application packets email

If you would like to aid our cause please, Donate!