Six students age 11-14. Four days of sunshine. One rainy day. Four nights in a tent. Canoes, kayaks, paddles, life vests. One mighty river.
All of this equaled an unforgettable summer for students who participated in the Encore Summer on the River camping trip! “Encore,” the North Country Supervisory Union’s summer and after school program, was awarded funds to provide this one-week immersive overnight experience on the Missisquoi River. With the help of the River Community Grants Program, the kids fished, canoed, swam, and experienced the joy and fun of one of our most prized local natural resources.
Keith Sampietro from Montgomery Adventures guided the camping trip,
with help from two assistants who had previously worked at the Encore
Program. Preteens and teens from Troy, Jay, Westfield, and Lowell were
invited to participate in the 5-day and 4-night camping trip. During the
day they paddled down the river in canoes and kayaks, developing paddling
skills and learning what a healthy river system looks like and needs to
In addition to paddling skills, participants were given responsibilities including: keeper of the first aid kit, organizer of paddles, tent building expert, cook, and “leave no trace” campsite expert. Participants also learned basic survival skills, including how to make a splint for an arm or leg and use a butterfly stitch. Of course, the main point of the trip was having fun and connecting to the river!
What the Students Had to Say
The participants reflected on the day by writing in journals every night. Their entries give an insight to their experiences on the trip.
“The rapids were the best part of the entire canoe/kayak trip!”
“It was pretty tiring at first, but then it started to get really fun after lunch when Helen fell out of the canoe” (one of the Encore staff members)
“The view at the Enosburg Dam was beautiful”
“I was in front so I had to spot rocks in the water ahead. We hit a few rocks and got stuck, but we didn’t flip!”
“So today we had a lot of rapids and that was so much fun. I’m really upset that this is our last night all together.”
From learning first-aid to canoeing and kayaking for the first time, participants in Summer on the River connected to the landscape in a real way. This camping program promoted a healthy and active lifestyle and encouraged students to see the relationship between humans and the river’s health. The Wild & Scenic Committee is proud of our local students for embarking on this journey, and it thrilled to have sponsored the Encore Summer on the River Program.
To watch a video about the experience, click here.