When you go to college, you should leave having learned something. Our 2008 College Demo Tour included ten college visits. And we learned all sorts of things!
Lesson Number One:
There are events that will create a conflict for even the most enthusiastic group of college whitewater paddlers: The NY Yankees being on campus (Virginia Tech), the former President Clinton being on campus (UNC-Charlotte)�or showing up to find (Davidson) the Cinderella team in the NCAA championships and almost 50% of the student body having just returned from Michigan. But at each of the above, we still had a great turnout for our International Show/Demo nights.
More Lessons Learned:
It does not take being located in a prime whitewater spot to have a good kayaking program out of the university. Take MTSU and/orUnionCollege for example. MTSU is just a half-hour fromMemphis,UnionCollege tucked away inKentucky. WithMemphis, typically one thinks of blue suede shoes before whitewater kayaking, but MTSU has a super-enthusiastic group of paddlers�both within the school and in the surrounding community.
Kayak girls just wanna have fun. Do you need boys to go kayaking? Not at Sweet Briar College, a womens college with a high-energy outdoor program. Now with that said, do they want boys to kayak with? Eight years ago I gave the lack of women participants in whitewater kayaking as a good incentive to get out there and learn to kayak. If the participation in the kayak program today is any indication of whether they took me seriously�that would be a definite �yes!�
And don�t be scared to start from scratch. Eight years ago Sweet Briar College had no paddling program. Today they have a super-enthusiastic group that not only paddles all over Virginia but is looking to expand their horizons to South America.Last year ETSU had no paddling club, but today they not only have an active club but one with gear and a lot of support.Last year Virginia Tech�home to some big name paddling luminaries, could not even schedule a pool session�this year Jason has Thursday night pool rolling sessions and a fleet of Wave Sport boats coming in.Our goal is to get Roanoke College the same kind of support.
Final Lesson Learned
Just because you are not a student doesn�t mean you cannot come away from anERACollege Demo tour a winner: two years ago we did a night atPfeifferCollege.Two of our 2006 Pfeiffer night participants also happen to be members of the Boy Scout Venture Troop 134. This year it just took a little persuasion and they had Pfeiffer talked into setting up a special pool night for the scout troop when we were in town. And they got the troop�s moms, dads and sisters there for a fantastic time.
Challenges aside, we had a great 2008 tour and spent time with some awesome students and outdoor program leaders. Thanks for sharing time with us!