Weekend Technical Skills Clinics

Alzar School | 30.08.18

While students have been diving head first into the residential and academic life here at Alzar School, they have also spent time building outdoor technical skills during weekend clinics. Over the past three weeks, students have participated in three different skill sessions: Wilderness First Aid, Swift Water Rescue and whitewater kayaking. In each session, students developed the foundational skills that will lead to their success as competent recreators on the water and in the backcountry.

Wilderness First Aid: Through a two-day course students not only gained their Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification, they applied their new skills in hands-on scenarios lead by our Expedition Coordinator, Justin Kleberg, and Residential Life Staff, Kaela Frank. During their course students learned an immense amount about a variety of health conditions and how they can be treated, ranging from the basic stomach ache, to compound leg fractures. Most importantly, students learned how these conditions and injuries can be managed in the backcountry, and how backcountry medical care differs from that in the front country.  

Swift Water Rescue: At the Barn, and down at Kelly’s Whitewater park student’s learned from professional Swift Water Rescue instructors about the ins and outs of managing safety on the water. Hundreds of throw-ropes were thrown, swimmers were rescued and overall comfort in whitewater was developed.

Students get ready to practice their Swift Water Safety skills at Kelly’s Whitewater Park.

Whitewater Kayaking: Students got into whitewater kayaks for the first time here at Alzar School alongside professional kayak instructors and faculty. This skill session focused on developing students’ comfort in a kayak and in whitewater, as well as the technical skills necessary to navigate both. Students kayaked on Lake Cascade, from Kelly’s Whitewater park to their backyard here on campus, and on the Lower Main Payette. By the end of their two days on the water, students were competently catching eddies, navigating class III rapids, rolling kayaks, and most importantly having fun!

By focusing on these skills through our weekend skills clinics students will show up at the trail-heads and river put-ins knowing how to read rapids, rescue their peers in whitewater, and provide medical care to themselves and others in the backcountry.