Guide Site Login
Please enter password to view the guide site
This 14-day adventure offers teenagers with and without disabilities a supportive and inclusive environment to experience Northern California’s natural and historic treasures. This unique trip includes sea kayaking on San Francisco Bay and whitewater rafting on the South Fork of the American River.
Participants of all abilities join together to challenge themselves and to develop outdoor leadership skills. Learning how to face their fears and embrace their strengths, the students work together as a team to meet their challenges head on and rise as leaders. With a focus on creativity and inclusion, they discover ways to make adventures and activities safe and accessible for everyone involved.
The trip begins with a welcoming introduction as we meet the teammates that we will be spending the next fourteen days with. We will learn new names and play ice breaker activities to get to know our group, and then we will jump in a van and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin. In the evening we hold our first nightly council circle where we enjoy the process of debriefing our day, sharing about ourselves, and learning about each other. We then divide into teams and establish group agreements and leadership roles. We spend our second day paddling along the waters of Sausalito, learning the essential skills of sea kayaking.
Our third day we load our kayaks with food and gear and paddle across Richardson Bay and the depths of Raccoon Strait until we arrive on Angel Island, where we spend three nights. We will settle into a unique Civil War era building that has been modified for wheelchair accessibility. People can choose to sleep inside the building or out on the lawn under the stars. We will explore this unique island by water and by land as we play fun team-building games, kayak around the island, learn about native plants and animals, and travel to the Immigration Station to learn about the cultural impacts of the historic island. We will continue to develop our communication skills and leadership skills as we bond with our group and create new best friends.
The second half of our adventure brings us to the South Fork of the American River. Here, we’ll discover the thrill and adventure of whitewater rafting on the South Fork of the American River, as well as learn the technical skills to do so safely. Instructors train you to navigate rapids and students take turns leading each other down Class I-II sections of the river. The more challenging Class III sections will be safely run by knowledgeable and experienced guides.
The group will have the unique experience of staying at the ETC River Camp along with a group of mixed ability adults. This YLP cohort will have the empowering experience of being Assistant Guides on an ETC Disability trip – helping people in chairs and with visual impairments, Cerebral Paulsy, or other ability needs navigate the camp property and get in and out of boats.
We will also spend some time off of the water as well, learning about the history of the Coloma area, going on day hikes and finding private swimming holes to cool off in. Each day we will come back to the comfort of ETC’s beautiful and accessible river camp to cook dinner in the open-air kitchen and continue our nightly councils. Every night we will sleep under the magnificence of the Milky Way Galaxy with the lullaby of the river putting us to bed.
Graduation Day! This is a potluck gathering in San Francisco. We invite our friends and family to watch a slideshow of our adventure while we share the highlights of our journey and the lessons we have learned. Afterwards we will say goodbye to our new group of friends, and travel back home with our guardians.