River Sense Program

kids river sense course summer camp safety swim

Overview

River Sense is a series of courses designed for kids of different ages and experience levels to heighten awareness and understanding of the river environment and to develop the skills necessary to stay safe while playing on the river. Objectives emphasize developing self-rescue skills, utilizing existing water dynamics, and handling hazards and obstacles. Many of the courses are arranged as technical swiftwater rescue modules similar to the swiftwater courses we teach for river and rescue professionals. In all the classes we teach for youth, the emphasis is on staying safe to begin with by being aware, thoughtful, and team-oriented—and of course, having fun.

If you are interested in setting up any of these courses in your area, contact us and we will work with you to get something started in your community.

  • This one-day course is designed for the younger group, ages 9-12. From the outset we acknowledge that kids of this age should still be supervised when out swimming in the river, but that aside, it’s never to early to start teaching them to be aware and able to help themselves and advise their friends. This course focuses on being aware of hazards in the river environment, learning how to safely maneuver in current, techniques for self-rescue, and also the importance of working as a team.

    • Course Cost: $95

    Course Dates & Locations

    • To be announced
  • This two-day course is for middle school and junior high school age kids who are starting to go out adventuring with friends without parent supervision—ages 12-14. A step up from RS1, this course discusses more of the science behind the hydrology and simple rescue tools and techniques. In addition to reinforcing skills learned in RS1 students in this course will learn about throwbag rescues, how to control contact rescues, shallow water crossings, and how to negotiate a strainer swim. We also engage students in a dialogue about thoughtful decision-making, peer pressure, and use of technology to call in help if needed.

    • Course Cost: $195

    Course Dates & Locations

    • To be announced
  • This two-day course is essentially a technical swiftwater rescue module designed for the high school age youth. In addition to reinforcing skills covered in the first two courses, this class moves into making and using simple rope rescue systems. Students will help to set up a tension diagonal, or water based “zip line”, for moving across the current. Students will also assist instructors in setting up the strainer swim. While the emphasis remains on self-rescue, more time will be spent on quick and simple rescue techniques, swimming and maneuvering in whitewater, and recognizing and catching eddies. Perhaps the most phenomenal element of this course is how the students learn to work together as a team to manage an incident command system employing a technical rope system for rescuing victims in trials scenarios (quite often twice as fast as any group of SRT firefighter students could pull it off!).

    • Course Cost: $195
    • Course Dates and Times: None scheduled at this time.
  • Refresher and Rafting
    This course is for students who have gone through our other courses and want to keep their skills fresh. We combine a fun rafting trip with swim and rescue drills on the course of our float down the river to make the course fun and relevant. Wherever possible we like to make the information “real”, by presenting students with situations they might encounter when out swimming, tubing, or rafting with friends and family. Throughout the course of the trip down the river we will swim rapids, catch eddies, discuss and investigate the effects of hydrology, practice throwbagging, learn about reading whitewater, and talk extensively about a responsible approach to enjoying the river.

    • Course Cost: $100
    • Course Dates: None scheduled at this time
  • Youth Instructor Program
    This course is designed for our veteran students who wish to share what they have learned through the River Sense program with other youth. We feel that students can also make great instructors for their peers with the right amount of training and experience.

    This four day course goes deeper into swiftwater theory and method while focusing on methods of sharing that information effectively with students. We are excited to offer this course for the very first time this year and we look forward to having apprentice instructors working with us next year!

    • Course Cost: $450
    • Course Dates: None scheduled at this time