Trip Report: Mondamin/Green Cove Paddling Clinic, 5/3-5/5/2024

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Fathers and their daughters; Father and son; camp alumni and folks who have never been to camp; beginners and advanced paddlers - they all came for a great weekend of friendship and challenge at their personal frontiers. The paddling clinic for canoeists and kayakers, beginner to advanced, was a great success, and had one participant asking:

“So, when are you going to schedule the Fall clinic?”

Stay tuned…

Because of the depth and breadth of instruction from David Bell, Whitewater World Champion Lecky Haller, and Mondamin Canoe Staff member Jonah D’Antonio, we were able to serve people at their level of need - whether it was tuning up the fine points of a kayak roll, surfing a wave, or just figuring out which stroke to take to have the canoe follow your bow paddler’s lead. That allowed everyone to enjoy the challenges and delights of moving your boat in good control on moving water and through rapids. That’s what Mondamin’s founder, Frank Bell, Sr., “Chief,” envisioned a century ago: a place where you could challenge yourself in the development of activities to which you could return for a lifetime.

The clinic was full of intergenerational moments: seeing the pleasure of fathers watching their kids develop and sharpen their kayaking skills, or camp alums from the sixties who were rock climbers adopt a beginner’s heart to take on the less familiar challenges of canoeing, and accepting the learning process that included the occasional swim, all with youthful, open, and joyful attitudes.

The clinic was great preparation for camp, starting in less than a month! It also served as an opportunity for participants to donate to the Chief and Calla Bell Foundation, whose Board Chair, Pharr Smith, was present in explaining the work of the Foundation in helping families send their kids to camp for experiences like these.

It was summarized nicely by Mary Anne Schnider:

“The weekend had it all: great people, a beautiful setting, exhilarating canoeing, positive conversations, and laughter… oh yes, and some swamping!”

Come join us for the next one!

Onward, Gordo Grant

About Gordon Grant

I came to Mondamin as a 14 year old camper in 1969, and have followed what I learned here in adventure and academic education for 54 years: at Mondamin and Green Cove, Nantahala Outdoor Center, NC Outward Bound, Asheville City Public Schools, and UNC Chapel Hill. I still practice deep play in whitewater, rock climbing, and hiking, and am still working on my kayak roll…

I have worked closely with the Bell family in these years, from the founders of the camps, Chief and Calla Bell, through their son and daughter Frank, Jr. and Nancy Bell, and their grandchildren Andrew, Calla, and David. Each generation has taught me something.

My wife, Susan, is my partner of 40+ years; we have shared outdoor adventures around the world. Susan has headed canoeing at Green Cove. Our daughters, Rachel and Glenna, were Green Cove campers, and our granddaughter, Virginia Rugh, will be at August camp this summer. We intend that our grandson Grant will be at Mondamin in 2028. I am working with David Bell and the Mondamin staff to assure that he, and many other boys, will be having adventures on their personal frontiers at camp for years to come.

Gordon Grant