Grace College junior environmental studies student and basketball player, Eddie Gill, recently secured a $137,000 boat sponsorship with Parker Boats for “Journey for a Cause,” a 10-day, 700-mile trip from Evansville, Indiana, to Navarre Beach, Florida, to promote inclusion in outdoor sports. Gill will begin his journey on June 1 in a Parker 2520 XLD boat.
“I am incredibly grateful for their sponsorship, and I have the greatest respect and admiration for their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the boating industry and outdoor sports. It will be an honor to take this journey on a Parker Boat,” Gill said.
Gill is currently fundraising to reach his goal of $20,000. All donations exceeding the costs for the journey (fuel, dockage, lodging, community engagement, and incidentals) will be given to various nonprofit organizations striving to create a more diverse and inclusive outdoors. According to a National Geographic article, “communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in nature-deprived places.”
This disparity compels Gill to take this journey.
“I’m trying to promote outdoor opportunities for everybody,” said Gill, who noticed that there weren’t many other fishermen that looked like him. “The boating and fishing industries are not as diverse and inclusive as I think they should be. I want to shed light on new perspectives and create change in those industries because your skin color shouldn’t have any impact on what you love to do,” he said.
Two of his childhood fishing buddies, Justin Shupe and Clay Wright will join Gill on the journey. Parker Boats is also hiring a full-time captain for the journey, and several of Gill’s family members will join for portions of the ride.
On May 31, Gill will have a Journey for a Cause launch event in Evansville, Ind. Gill and his friends will depart the next morning and follow their meticulously mapped out plan, logging anywhere from 20 to 120 miles per day. The plan accounts for the ebb and flow of the river, which includes water levels, and identifies 13 locks for the boat to pass through over the course of the journey.
And whenever it’s possible, Gill intends to cast a line.
“I would like to fish for as many types of fish as I can along the journey,” said Gill. “But I’ll fish for whatever is biting that day!”
The journey will be periodically live-streamed for family, friends, and donors to follow along. To learn more about Gill’s journey, or to support the cause, visit journey4acause.com.