Rutabaga is committed to making paddling be accessible to people of all ages, from all walks of life. Time on the water gives people a deeper connection to the natural world, to the waters that surround our community, and to themselves. The Josh Kestelman Scholarship Fund is a critical part of our efforts to make sure that time on the water is available to everyone.

Who was Josh Kestelman?
Josh Kestelman was a dedicated instructor for Rutabaga Outdoor Programs. His passion was to get youth on the water. This 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 in his early 20s.

How are these funds used?
Each year Rutabaga partners with community groups throughout the Madison area to get local kids and teens out on the water. The money from the Kestelman Scholarship goes directly to community youth programs and individual families, who would otherwise not have access to paddling programs, paying up to half their costs.

How can I help?
This fund exists because members of the paddling community, near and far, have donated the resources to help Rutabaga 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 those partners who have given significant contributions to this 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!