RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The James River Association (JRA) is hoping to give some healthcare workers a much-needed break on the river this summer through the James River Relief program.

For the second year in a row, the association is partnering with outfitters from across the Commonwealth to give free paddle trips and rental options to healthcare workers.

“Healthcare workers are always dealing with stresses,” Erin Hillert, communications and manager with the James River Association told 8News Friday. “It was a unique way for us to give back as an organization dedicated to the river and get hospital workers on the river for some solace, relaxation, and really a break.”

RVA Paddlesports is one of five outfitters along the James River watershed offering free trips.

“If anything, the pandemic has taught us more empathy and understanding what those frontline workers are going through,” owner Patrick Griffin said. “It seemed like a no-brainer.”

Griffin says those who sign up will be offered kayak rides or rentals for a day.

“Now with how the vaccinations going, and numbers down, hopefully, they can enjoy more time outside and give themselves a pat on the back for helping everyone out,” Griffin said.

Crosswind Paddle Company in Richmond, James River Reeling and Rafting in Scottsville, Rivanna River Company in Charlottesville, and James River Adventures in Lynchburg, are also providing the trips.

Healthcare workers can also sign up through JRA’s Connect with the James programs in Richmond, Hopewell and James City.

Only one trip per person will be offered. Many outfitters will also allow family and friends to join, but only the registered participant will receive the free or discounted trip.

All trips need to be booked during the 2021 river season, and spots are limited.

To sign up, click here.