THE FIRST ANNUAL CAMPING & EDUCATION FOUNDATION & URBAN WILDERNESS CANOE ADVENTURES OHIO RIVER PADDLE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!
October 8th-12th, 2012
When you think of the Ohio River these days, does wilderness adventure come to mind? Well, for the Camping & Education Foundation and our friends from Wilderness Inquiry in Minneapolis it certainly does, especially when it comes to getting urban kids to think outside of the Xbox. And from the smiles, tears of joy and more than a few personal victories, the launch of our "Urban Wilderness Initiative," was a huge success!
From October 8th to October 12th, over 250 students and their teachers from Gamble Montessori (CPS) gathered on the banks of the Mighty Ohio to experience the great outdoors if only for 6 hours. Authentic 24’ Voyageur canoes provided by Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures, and water safety instruction provided by the Army Corps of Engineers set the stage for an eye-opening day on the river unlike anything these kids have ever known. (No doubt that they had more fun than our beloved Cincinnati Reds!). For many this was the first time on the Ohio in a water craft of any type not to mention a chance to learn about the rich history of the Ohio River Valley and the way of the frontiersmen who settled in this area.
A land based program designed and delivered by the Camping and Education Foundation at a campsite near the mouth of the Licking River included fire by friction, campsite construction and cooking, a Voyageur reenactor, and Native American Friendship dance. Students witnessed (and tried to conquer themselves!) the mastery of Campbell Jolly's fire starting demonstrations, Steve Heinle's reflector oven and cooking instruction and even learned the ins and outs of packing a tin wannigan (not as easy as it looks!). The highlight however was the fire by friction team building exercise where each day the entire class worked together to create a friction fire using a 5' spindle and human bow (seems like a natural for Initiative Games up on Deer Island)!
The core of the Camping & Education Foundation's mission has always been to enhance leadership development in youth through wilderness tripping. Now it can be said that the skills and love of the outdoors as it is experienced in the north woods can be offered to urban based kids and applied right in their back yard. A tremendous thanks to all of our partners and supporters for making this new program a reality and a special hand to Melynda Bowers, Steve Heinle, Campbell & John Jolly, Beth & Bob Staggenborg, Steve Sullivan, David Kahn, Suzi Jolly, Libby Dix, J.R. Verkamp, Steve Shook, Jack "Jacque" Driscoll and our great hosts Hank & Linda Brightwell! I know the students at Gamble will remember this week for many years to come.
Urban Wilderness Links
These initial organizations have come together to support this exciting program:
• Camping and Education Foundation
• Wilderness Inquiry
• Gamble Montessori High School
• Camp Kooch-i-ching
• Ogichi Daa Kwe
• Green Umbrella
• Cincinnati Public Schools
• Cincinnati Parks
• Army Corps of Engineers
• National Park Service