Yampa River Youth Camps give kids the chance to recreate and learn while on the water

Willows, poplars, and a bright assortment of shrubs and other vegetation graced their fall-colored leaves along the Yampa River. (Craig press kit)

It was disappointing for the Friends of the Yampa to cancel their first river camps planned for last year.

But unfortunately, the pandemic and the inability to socially distance oneself by raft or kayak have forced the four camps to be postponed. It was disappointing, but safety was the top priority for the organization.

Fortunately, with the rollout of three effective COVID-19 vaccines and the downward trend in infection cases, the Friends of Yampa knew it would be a perfect summer for their river camps.

“We are very excited to have them,” said FOTY Executive Director Lindsey Marlow. “We have reduced the number of camps to three this year, simply because we are still in the days of COVID. But despite everything, we’re excited to show the Yampa, as it’s one of the best stretches of the river here in this region.

The camps will be held throughout the month of June: June 8-10 and June 15-17 in Steamboat Springs and June 22-24 in Craig. The camps are open to anyone entering from the seventh to the ninth year.

The cost is $ 250 to attend the three-day camps, but scholarships are available for those in need, paying 25% to 100% of the cost. There are only eight places per camp.

No previous river experience is required to attend camp, as the main goal of the program is to allow campers to travel safely in whitewater river conditions while teaching them the glory of the Yampa River. .

“A lot of people don’t come near the river because it doesn’t feel like it is safe to recreate there,” Marlow said. “We are creating a mechanism for people to safely recreate themselves and to access recreational activities such as kayaking and rafting. Campers will learn to read a river because it is dynamic and there are dangers that must be understood to make it accessible.

For the three-day camp at Craig, campers will learn the basics of raft guiding, such as learning paddling skills, knot-making, backwater identification and basic whitewater rescue techniques.

In addition, they will learn why the conditions of a river change, how to know when conditions have changed and how to leave no traces on ethics.

On the third and final day of camp, students will do a “city run,” rafting or kayaking through the Yampa on a longer trip.

Although there is only one camp at Craig this summer, Marlow said FOTY is absolutely open to scheduling more next summer if there is interest.

“Moffat County has such a different type of river from other segments of the Yampa,” said Marlow. “We think it is important to learn these skills and we decided to start with the colleges because they are able to recreate themselves on the raft river, but their mind is also open and they want to know more. “

To register for the camps, visit https://friendsoftheyampa.com/youth-river-camps/.

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