Why do we organize the Camp Cup?

Alzar School | 25.07.09

Earlier, we wrote about the awesome people of the Camp Cup Challenge… the coaches, the volunteers, the kids. As I mentioned, that’s one of the big reasons we put on the Cup; it’s a lot of fun being around those folks. But, it’s not the only reason we do it.

Last night, we were chatting with an experienced kayak instructor we met when we arrived here at the Otter Bar (www.OtterBar.com) to teach for a few weeks. He was very skeptical about why we would organize the Camp Cup, or even run the Alzar School. His thought was: “running a nonprofit sounds like a TON of work.”

He was right, on some level. It takes a lot of paperwork, organizing, planning, scrimping for pennies, sweating, manual labor, cooking, cleaning, etc, etc. He suggested we just teach at a good kayak school, where the pay is better, the hours shorter, and enjoy ourselves.

We’ve done that before. We’ve taught with some great adult programs around the world. But, I guess what makes the Alzar School extremely worthwhile for us is getting to see the benefits the kids extract from their experiences. Giving our students the opportunity to experience the outdoors is phenomonally rewarding, truly worth all the hours of work we put in. The Camp Cup is just one example. We saw kids make new friends, challenge their boating skills, and build self-confidence. There were 112 kids, and I’m pretty sure they all got something out of the deal. They derive so much more than an adult does, I think, because they are at such a pivotal point in their lives. They are trying to identify who they are, what kind of person they want to be, and whitewater gives them an option that lets them be “cool” while still being healthy and unique.

So that is what makes whatever little busy work we did to make the event possible seem like a total bargain. At least some of that throng of kids will be lifelong paddlers, will help keep our rivers clean, will make good decisions because they learned how to do that through whitewater.

Check out the video we quickly put together: