Summer was entirely spent with a paddle in hand. The Older Group stepped up into a totally new environment and adventure taking on the NC Outer Banks in sea-kayaks! The Younger Group took on the classic New River expedition in fine style.
This was our first ever TAASC adventure to the Outer Banks and for those of you who have never been there let’s just say, “‘It’s not for sissies!” The group learned a whole new skill set in terms of paddling and living out of an ocean going sea-kayak. It gets technical whenever you’re facing the ocean and we had a whole range of challenges to navigate. Bugs, hot sun, saltwater, wet gear, and fierce wind’s coming right as us from the south west – these created some exciting seas and we had to dig deep to make it across some of the crossings as we island hopped our way south towards Cape Lookout Island. From there we spent a day relaxing and exploring the Lighthouse area and then we spent the next few days paddling north along the Core Banks. The students really stepped up to the challenges and had to work hard as a group to succeed. This group has a natural way of sharing leadership and so depending on the energy, fatigue and situation, someone always stepped into that space to provide inspiration, direction and motivation to get ‘er done!
The Younger Group similarly had to work hard to successfully make it down the almost 50 miles of river. This section of the New River features several exciting class 2 rapids and there’s long sections of beautiful wilderness. This group specializes in having fun though, and I think someone worked out that we ran about 40 miles over the duration of the trip playing capture the flag! All expeditions develop a unique flow and this one was wonderful. Each day we’d wake up, cook breakfast and load up the boats and paddle down the river. The simple life at it’s best! These kids had to work for it though, as the list of important chores and gear to take of takes most of the time.
These summer trips are pure gold in terms of accelerating the development of a child (or adult too!). The continued practice at taking care of their gear, learning how to pack and unpack, manage their food ration, cook and clean up, set up and maintain campsite and of course all the skills needed to navigate the river and stay dry! Leadership is inevitable for these young folks. No matter what level they are at in terms of personal development and skills, they all reach the place of being able to help a member of their crew out and look after each other!