Clintonville native Rob Bean grew up paddling in central Ohio's rivers and streams.

Clintonville native Rob Bean grew up paddling in central Ohio's rivers and streams.

Bean, who moved to Colorado more than 15 years ago, is turning the passion he earned for boating in Ohio into a one-man canoe marathon to raise money for an international charity.

From June 13 through June 15, Bean will paddle 250 miles down the North Platte River in Wyoming to raise money for Heifer International, a charity that provides farm animals in poverty-stricken areas and teaches the poor to raise animals and farm to support themselves.

"Always, I had it in the back of my mind that I would do something like this," Bean said.

Bean began boating as a small child; his parent purchased the family's first canoe while on vacation in New York when Bean was 8.

While attending college at Ohio State, Bean began white-water racing. Four or five years ago, he began marathon canoeing, covering long distances over rivers in his boat.

Bean said he decided to combine his talent and passion for boating with his professional experiences in marketing. Since January, Bean has worked to organize the race, coordinating the race route and arrangements and garnering sponsors.

"It's become my second job," Bean said. "To get people involved has been a lot of phone calls, a lot of e-mails, a lot of late nights, and then there's the training, which is like my third job."

Bean also began training for the race in January through a combination of strength training and canoeing. He said the 250-mile distance will be a personal record for him.

Bean said choosing to do a canoe race to raise money for Heifer International is two fold.

The race, Bean said, demonstrates how one person can capitalize on their talents and abilities to do some good.

And because a single-man, 250-mile canoe challenge is somewhat of a novelty among fundraisers, Bean said it will help bring attention to Heifer International's mission.

"I think it's a weird enough event that people have taken up the story," Bean said. "It's a strange format, which helps to garner an awareness for the charity."

Bean said he chose to focus on Heifer International because he believes in their mission. Because the organization teaches people to farm and sell the products they grow and make, it teaches them to be self-sufficient, Bean said.

The charity also encourages those it has helped to pass on their good fortune to others in need.

"The programs that they do really tackle those core issues like food supply," Bean said. "They're a very timely solution that works so well."

Bean is working to further awareness by talking to church groups near his home in Colorado, and he said he'll likely make stops along his route to talk to people about the organization's mission.

He's also received support from churches here in Ohio, such as the Church of the Messiah in Westerville, where Bean's family worshipped while he was growing up.

Bean said more than anything, he hopes that his canoe trip will set an example for others by encouraging them to organize their own fundraising efforts or nonprofit groups.

"I would love to see people who are kind of sitting in my same boat get involved in something like this," Bean said. "I would like people to see this as something they could do."

Bean said it also means something to him to set an example for his kids, 7-year-old Megan and 3-year-old Lucas, who have helped in their own ways to raise money for Heifer.

"It's the kind of thing that you want to set an example for your kids, and hopefully, they pick upon that," Bean said. "They decided to come on board and do this."

Bean already has raised nearly all of his $5,000 goal, and he's strategizing now to turn next year's Moo Canoe into an event for groups of boaters.

Like Heifer International, Bean's race began with one person taking the time to organize something, and he said he really wants to make sure people understand that.

"That was how this whole thing started: with one person," Bean said.