Hey mates, Jez here and I wanted to let you guys know about some of the adventures we get up to here at Falling Creek. As the ‘Director of Vibe’, I head up the paddling program here at camp and, let me tell you, it is just a huge ball of energy right now as camp has swung right into top gear.
We start things off with boys in canoes and they start off with the basics of learning how to paddle and maneuver their craft. Then if they pass the buoy course we take them onto our local class 1 river called the Lower Green, where they learn the basics. Next off, they are invited to a Tuckaseegee/Nantahala 2-day river trip which are class 2-3 rivers near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here they continue their learning of boat control, catching eddies and peel outs on the river.
If the tandem canoe team successfully catches truck stop eddy, which is just above the Nantahala Falls, and then runs the Falls clean, then the two are given their green level ‘Yacklet’, a wristband that encapsulates their hard work and allows them to move into kayaks and one person crafts. These young men are then encouraged to move into the paddling progression in a kayak, C1 or OC1 and they again start from the lower green onwards, while being taught how to roll and control their craft.
As the boys to return to FCC year after year, their paddling ability increases, and I am astounded at how far some of these guys have gotten. When I first started at camp, our highest river trip was the Ocoee River. Now this is just another river we do on week 2 of our program. These young men are paddling outside of camp more and more in attempts to paddle more difficult rivers while attending camp.
Some of our more advanced boaters have had the opportunity in the past to head up to West Virginia to tackle bigger water such as the New River Gorge and the Gauley, two spectacular rivers that have a huge variety of features. Our more advanced and intermediate boaters who successfully complete the Pigeon River, and who show great examples of the Falling Creek Code are often given an invite to our Expedition Programs. Maturity and great leadership skills are assets that we look for rather than just paddling ability.
Here is where things get really exciting. Our Expedition Programs are the upper echelon of what we do. After 4- week main camp is over we invite a select group of paddlers to our HUCK Expedition Programs, which have in the past traveled to the Ottawa River in Canada, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Southeast, Costa Rica, and last year was by far one of the most amazing river trips to the Canadian Wilderness where we flew in on float planes to the Magpie River and paddled down this remote wilderness for 8 days. Truly one of those life changing moments. I only wish I was able to have been a part of this kind of experience when I was their age.
So there really is so much to our program, so many stories that I wish I could share with you all, just not enough time to mention all of them. Let me say this, the paddling program here at FCC is second to none. Boys here have a chance to be part of something truly special, and watching all of these young men learn how to paddle, and gain outdoor leadership skills at camp, and to see them progress to paddling these bigger expedition trips is just so rewarding.
Cheers for reading and I hope to see you at opening or closing day at Falling Creek Camp.