In less than a month, Orion River Rafting's one-of-a-kind guide training will commence along the banks of the Deschutes River in north central Oregon. This season marks Orion's 33rd season of teaching complete novices the wonders of being on the river. Kenneth Grahame said it best in a much-loved quote from Wind in the Willows, "There is nothing--absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
Our seven day spring river trip serves multiple purposes. Newcomers to river rafting are immersed in the trappings of what it means to be 'messing about in boats.' Instead of merely getting repetitions on one stretch of river, they are getting exposed to a new stretch of water every day. They are introduced to the whole wide realm of river rafting: rigging, camp craft, a diverse set of knots, rowing an oar boat, environmental stewardship, expedition travel, gear management, cooking for groups and cooking with Dutch Ovens and wilderness ethics.
At the same time, since the nature of our company's culture is so intrinsic to our ultimate success, and the creation of a fostering community is paramount, a week long river rafting trip provides the student with a chance to evaluate who we are and gives our instructors ample opportunity to assess the students strengths and weaknesses. On Orion's River Rafting Guide Training course, besides the students and the instructors, there are a dozen or so returning guides who are there to lend support, add encouragement and reinforce the training of the veteran staff. In fact, most of Orion's guide training students are referrals from veteran staff --- family, friends, guests, significant others.
Our instructors bring not only dozens and dozens of years of white water experience to the program, they bring a depth and breadth of river running experience having plied their trade the world over --- New Zealand, Peru, Bali, Costa Rica, Turkey, Chile and Belize to name a few --- guiding rafts and even managing and building foreign rafting companies. Orion River Rafting's trainers not only contribute their vast white water knowledge to the careful instruction of new guides, they bring decades of experience of this particular week of skill-building.
In short, Orion's students get to take part in a program dripping with tradition while being spontaneous and fun. They get to learn the 'big picture' of river rafting and decide for themselves if their romantic notions of guiding coincide with the reality.
Or, are maybe even better than they imagined.