ARTA's California Junior Whitewater School is a blast! Six full days of whitewater rafting, riverside adventure, outdoor games and spontaneous fun are coupled with enthusiastic instruction and lively participation. Every day, you will get the chance to learn, practice, experiment, laugh, swim, discover and grow.
At the end of the week, you'll have a new tan and a new confidence.
The school will be based out of Camp Lotus on the banks of the South Fork of the American River. In addition to showers, lawn, shade, volleyball, koob (you'll learn) and flush toilets, Camp Lotus also offers easy access to the river and gives us lots of flexibility to choose the right stretch of river. We will spend most of our river days on the South Fork, but, if water and skill levels allow, we'll also trek over to the more challenging and remote Middle Fork of the American for a day or two of high adventure (tunnels, creeks, waterfalls, etc).
Formal instruction during the school will cover many aspects of whitewater navigation including rowing and paddle-captaining as well as basic swiftwater safety. Training will also be provided in trip planning, wilderness cooking and minimum impact camping. In addition to (and perhaps more important than) these technical skills, you will also develop teamwork, decision-making, interpersonal, leadership, and risk-assessment skills in a supervised, informal setting. Our goal is to act as positive role models and to foster a fun and friendly environment in which you can gain self-confidence, independence, and maturity.
Day before the trip: We will meet at Camp Lotus under the grape arbor at 5:00 pm, where we will have dinner, go over trip parameters and goals, and get to know each other. We will camp at Camp Lotus.
Day 1: A busy and exciting morning will bring us straight to the river where we will spend the day rafting one of the exciting whitewater sections of the South Fork.
Days 2– 5: Using Camp Lotus as our base, we will spend each day running one of the two sections on the South Fork working on ferry angles, turns, pivots, and eddy-catching. In addition to whitewater instruction, we will take time to learn about the unique history of the American River. We will check out historic sites, hike to swimming holes, and play skills games. If conditions permit, we may opt for one or two “wilderness” trips where we spend the night along the river at a raft-only accessible site. Students and instructors will divide into groups and each group will have specific responsibilities for the day. You will be involved in preparing meals, washing dishes and caring for the equipment. The days will be busy but not strenuous. Evenings will include a combination of structured and unstructured time.
Day 6: One final day on the South Fork will give you an opportunity to perfect your line through Racehorse Bend or have a rematch with Triple Threat before we conclude at Camp Lotus around 6:00 pm.
Alternate Beginning/Ending: Over the years, many parents (and families) have signed up for a regular ARTA trip immediately preceding or following their child's Junior Whitewater School. You can spend the day together on the river either when you drop them off or you can take a trip with your newly graduated "junior assistant guide" when you pick them up. Drop-off trips are fun because they can make students feel more at home on the river; pick-up trips are fun because parents get to see their kid "in action" (you'll be impressed) and your child will get to show off their new skills for you. We highly recommend this if you can make it work; call us and we'll help you make plans.
The full details (where to meet, what to bring, etc) are here. If there are any questions we haven't answered, send us an e-mail or give us a call (800/323-2782). We love to talk about our trips, so don't be shy!