As an organization Team River Runner gives a lot to its vets and volunteers. 90% of all the money collected through donations and grants by TRR goes directly into programing that directly benefits Vets and the other 10% goes to administrative costs. That is the main reason I like volunteering with them, the money goes where it should. One thing TRR is really big on is getting their Vets and Volunteers the best training working to get as many participants certified in as many skills as possible. Using ACA certified instructors and instructor trainers they offer ACA instructor courses and swift water rescue courses every year. I personally got my ACA instructor certificate through TRR in 2014. All TRR classes and events are designed to be free for the Vets and volunteers so we can help more vets in need.

I had the pleasure of organizing the campsite and logistics for this years Swift Water Level 4 clinic for the Central Rockies Region with the help of super volunteer Terri, current chapter coordinator for the GJ Chapter. The registration was too successful as we had 31 people sign up though we only had the budget for 17 to take the class. We had a great group of people come out and every chapter in the region had at least 2 people with a couple of chapters having 4. This training is so important in keeping people safe while we’re on the water and it was exciting to help put it together and even take the class myself. Through climbing, and instructing for climbing, as well as reading a few rescue books I knew most of the skills but I had yet to take an official SWR class.

The class was held at a private lake in Grand Junction CO where the land owners let TRR use their lake to hold flat water practice and host classes such as this all the time. They are awesome working with several non-profits in the Grand Junction Area that work with adaptive clients, they even started their own non-profit called Dream Big that works with adaptive water skiing.

The class takes two days so everyone came in Friday night and the Grand Junction Elks cooked dinner for everyone that got in early enough, we camped at the lake. The class was taught by the Assistant Director of the Outdoors Program at Colorado Mesa University, Ron Lunsford, and he really is one of the best instructors I know. We did some class room work and dry land exercises in the morning then got ready and jumped in the river after lunch both days. The class was fun and super informative, it’s inspired me to run some training as refreshers for those that have been certified in the GJ chapter at the beginning of each river season.

This really was a great group as well, everyone was super psyched to be there and did their best to rise to each challenge. The group was really encouraging the entire time, cheering each other on and helping each other. It was a great experience for me not just because of the knowledge I gained but the friends I made. I look forward to getting on the river with all of them again.

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