Environmental responsibility, river stewardship and community involvement are at the core of our mission at Wet Planet. Every year, we partner with local inspiring and impactful non-profits and youth organizations to share the river and introduce the next generation of river users to meaningful stewardship.
From decades of experience in outdoor recreation, Wet Planet founders Todd and Jaco have learned that all it takes to spark a lifelong love of nature is getting children out into nature. Since supporting our local community, promoting river stewardship and environmental responsibility are so important to us at Wet Planet, we try to support like-minded organizations as much as possible. Sometimes we will sponsor a program, person or trip, other times we will coordinate with an organization to trade a substantial rafting or kayaking discount in exchange for the group doing a service project in the White Salmon River watershed. We enjoy getting creative with partnering organizations for the betterment of the community, watershed and the world beyond.
This week, we are partnering with the Mt. Adams Institute’s Cascade Mountain School, bringing a group of 14-18-year-olds rafting on the river in exchange for a watershed-based community service project. With this partnership, high school students learn about environmental systems through experiential exploration. Throughout the experience, participants explore how human and natural systems interact using the farms of Trout Lake, the prominent Mt. Adams, and the White Salmon River as a case study for systems thinking.
Wet Planet is fully sponsoring a group of fifteen teens from Cyprus to get out rafting on the White Salmon River this July. The group is joining us as part of Friendships for Peace, a United States-based non-profit whose mission is to promote and strengthen friendships between teens from divided communities and extend those friendships to their families and friends. The friendships are developed through home stays with American families. Each family hosts two teens – one from each side of a conflict. The teen pair shares a bedroom and learns about each other, understanding their different perspectives and realizing that friendships can develop despite significant political and cultural differences. Their volunteers were active in Northern Ireland from 1987 until 2007. They are currently active in Cyprus since 2009 and Israel/Palestine since 2018. The program has worked with over 2,500 teens in its lifetime.
One of the most inspiring programs we work with annually is First Descents. First Descents (FD) is an organization that aims to establish ongoing psychosocial supportive care for cancer fighters and survivors by allowing them to immerse themselves in a new outdoor adventure sport. Each year, Wet Planet hosts five weeks of FD camps in June and July, introducing over 70 young adults to whitewater kayaking and rafting. Each week-long camp is full of emotion, challenges, happiness and celebration.
The importance of getting young people into the outdoors, on the river and teaching them about their relationship with nature is so important to Wet Planet that we run our own annual Kids’ Kayak Camp. For over ten years, a dozen kids each summer walk away from the Kids’ Camp with a newly strengthened relationship with nature. Kids learn how to safely enjoy the water, treat rivers and nature with respect and develop the basics of whitewater kayaking. One of our favorite outcomes of the camp is the sense of accomplishment the kids walk away with at the end of the week.
Our Kids’ Camp, First Descents, Friendships for Peace, and Mt. Adams Institute use the outdoors to get kids and young adults out of their comfort zone, challenging them to push themselves, work together and overcome adversity. While working with these programs we have seen campers learn more about themselves by immersing themselves in nature, learning more about the environment and new skills, and that is the reward for us.
Author Mikey Goyette leads Wet Planet’s Marketing team. When he’s not in the office, you can find him in his kayak on the river, or on the river bank playing Spike Ball.