Endless River Adventures offers a Kid's Week each year right before the 4th July weekend.
I'd hoped that Brad would be up for it last year, but that would have been pushing it a little. So, we made the call to wait for this year and I'm glad we did.
Prior to class, Brad had stepped up his paddling to running Nanthala from the top put in to above the falls. So, he was ready to work with the staff and was excited to boot.
The classes started at 9am and ended at 5pm. Long days for little people, but he seemed no worse for wear. The staff did a great job of teaching all aspects of kayaking - both on and off the river. I was impressed that Brad was required to account for all his gear and had to show each of his 5 main items.
Day one was an introduction with lake time and a float down the Little Tenn. River. Brad started working on his roll and felt like he was the surf king by the end of the day. Oh, this is a parent's hands off clinic. The kids are placed in a group with other paddlers at his/her skill level and off they go with the instructor. Worked great.
Day two was more lake time. Working on rolls, getting closer to a roll and a trip down the Tuck Gorge. Again, Brad enjoyed it with tails of holes missed and waves surfed. Super fun and Brad actually started asking to work on his roll.
Final day was more lake time. Brad actually busted off a few rolls and felt great about himself. Then off to run a section of the Nanty. By the afternoon, Brad had run out of steam. Only so much gas in the 7 year old gas tank, but he made it down the river at his own pace, enjoyed himself and no swims for the three days.
Before I did a write up, I wanted a chance to paddle with Brad to see if I could notice a difference. So, this past Saturday back to Nanty we went. The classes were totally worth the time and effort. Brad's paddling has definitely picked up a notch. He was catching eddies with authority. He was making ferries with little effort. Just seems smoother and more relaxed in his boat. GREAT!!
He hasn't had that combat roll yet. We're going to spend a lot of time at roll practice and in the lake, to make sure he's got his roll dialed in. I'm sure it'll come and next year, he'll be back for kid's week for work on play boating and rolling in current.
Anyway, bottom line - my hats off to the great staff at Endless River Adventures!!!!!! What a great group of folks that treated my son like extended family. I knew that this was a home run when he came back the second day with tails of kayaking adventure, covered from head to toe in chocolate ice-cream and excited about hitting the river with his kayaking friends the next day!!!
Thanks a bunch!!!!