You can read all about our Kids’ Kayak Camp here on our website. The description gives you a detailed itinerary of what the campers do throughout the 4-day program. However, it’s impossible to fully explain the growth that each child experiences in the camp. It’s difficult to explain what’s going on when we say kids “learn invaluable knowledge necessary to playing safely in the river environment”. Sure, that’s what’s happening, but it’s what’s happening in each moment that is important to the kids’ development.

For example, I love seeing a 70lb. camper needing to empty her 50-gallon (400+ lb.) kayak and a fellow camper seeing the struggle and running to help. Kayaking isn’t a “team sport” but you can’t do it alone. The little lessons in each moment throughout the week add up and create lasting knowledge and skills, like needing to keep track of all your own gear or needing to help each other get spray skirts on or overcoming fears of paddling a rapid that you once flipped and swam in.

I love that things don’t come easy on the river—and I think many adult paddlers are drawn to kayaking because of that. Even the feistiest kids quickly realize that they need to listen to the instructors because they try it once without listening and get swept downstream in the practice current or flip over on an eddy line. A lot of whitewater skills are not intuitive or are even the opposite of what you’d expect. But in the end, if they listen and work hard, every camper succeeds.

As an instructor, it’s so rewarding to see these kids go from never having paddled, follow them throughout the struggles of learning the basics, and then seeing them come through the river’s largest rapid and scream “that was the coolest thing I’ve ever done!”. And, there’s nothing more heartwarming than needing to comfort a kid who is crying on the second-to-last morning of camp because the week is “almost over” and she says it’s been the best week she’s ever had.

Interested in introducing your son or daughter to the river? In addition to our Kids’ Summer Kayak Camps, Wet Planet offers daily rafting trips on the White Salmon River, family-oriented Multiday Main Salmon River Rafting Idaho trips and more.

Author Mikey Goyette works on 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.

Wet Planet marketing manager Mikey Goyette in the Grand Canyon

Mikey relaxing on a day hike in the Grand Canyon.