Quarantine is Excellent Time for Rock the Boat Design Challenge

With a fresh winter snowfall on a Monday morning in the middle of a lot of self-quarantining, mid-July might seem like its a long time off, but this might be the perfect time to step up to the Whirlpool “Rock the Boat” Cardboard Boat Races this summer.

Registration is officially open for the hugely popular “Rock the Boat” races this summer, but United Way of Southwest Michigan says, “The best advice for anyone interested in participating: Register early.”

Especially for those in need of something to look forward to while stuck at home, the challenge is design a cardboard boat that can beat all others in the chase. It might be one of the best ways for you to stay hopeful for healthy summer days and coming together as a community again—so register online now.

Plans are for “Rock the Boat” to return to the St. Joseph River on July 16th. The event is slated to take place along the inner harbor at The Inn at Harbor Shores, located at 800 Whitwam Drive in St. Joseph, with all proceeds benefiting United Way of Southwest Michigan.

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In just four years, the event has grown from five cardboard boats to 75. While many Whirlpool boats compete, about two-thirds of the competitors are individuals and businesses throughout the community. Last summer, registration was completely full by the first week of June.

Pam Klyn is Vice President of Global Product Organization at Whirlpool Corporation. She says,  “This is an event where people race cardboard boats that they create themselves. There’s no event like it around, which is why it’s become so popular.”  Klyn adds, “We’re thrilled with the excitement that Rock the Boat has created the past four summers. And most importantly, we’re proud of the impact that the funds generated through Rock the Boat create in our community through United Way.”

The life-size boats are made of cardboard, duct tape, and polyurethane, and powered entirely by human paddling. The event is open to the public, with races beginning at 5 pm on race day. To register for one of the 75 boat slots available, visit the link below. The registration fee is $250 per boat. Here’s the direct link: http://uwsm.org/rock-the-boat-2020

After registering a boat, participants will challenge each other for the People’s Choice Award, given to the team that raises the most money leading up the race. The winner takes home the People’s Choice Traveling Trophy and will present a $2,500 check to one of United Way’s funded partners of their choice.

Last summer’s race for the fastest boat featured a photo finish between two Whirlpool boats. Whirlpool’s NAR Quality team narrowly defeated Whirlpool’s Benton Harbor Tech team. The Most Creative Boat Award went to Whirlpool Creative Studios while Whirlpool’s Women’s Network won the People’s Choice Award. The event raised over $100,000 for United Way.

Klyn reminds all contenders, “Be sure you register early, this is an event you don’t want to miss.”

United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education, and Financial Stability of every person in every community. They have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit, and public partners, they provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations among us, while addressing the root causes of the community’s longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy, and volunteering—visit online at www.uwsm.org.