CW’s 61st Annual Training Camp Kicked Off the 2017 Kayak Season in style!

07/17/2017 12:46 PM | Anonymous

by Elizabeth Austen

Friends were made, lessons were learned, fun was had! It’s what we do.

I am so grateful for all the people who come together and contribute—in countless ways—to make this event a success. It is, by far, our largest annual event, our biggest fundraiser, and it takes a village to make it happen. 

Fortunately, we have an incredible village of kind, smart, fun, giving folks who help in so many ways, and this boat surely wouldn’t float without them. Most importantly and probably most obviously, the CW Instruction Team members who lead classes. CW instructors are certified to teach for the club via the American Canoe Association’s training guidelines and the training is paid for with club funds.

Instructors are then beholden to give forty hours annually to teaching for CW for five years, at which point they can opt to recertify. These people are particularly selfless. They teach at the CW-sponsored pool sessions throughout the winter at Meyers Pool in Arvada, conduct flat water moving water weekend for the newest kayakers just prior to Training Camp, and then top it off with Training Camp itself. Never mind that most of them also lead cruises and mentor people outside of the CW structure. If you’re a solid class III+ boater with a mentoring mentality and an interest in joining our Instruction Team, contact CW Instruction Director Dick Alweis at for a private conversation. 

CW is also fortunate to have about a zillion terrific mentors who are not trained as instructors, but are strong boaters with good rescue skills and a desire to help with the on-water activities.  And then there are so many folks who help at the event with the logistics of things, like checking people in, selling raffle tickets and conducting the raffle itself, taking video for classes, setting up tents and tables and technology and moving things, bringing tablets for video, lanterns and lights and tents and whiteboards. 

Behind the scenes was CW Webmaster Heidi Haas, putting together the big puzzle of information and class registrations in a way that made sense. Treasurer Jermiah Krayna handled refunds and vendor payments efficiently, and Membership Director April Hillman assisted in making sure all registrants were current members and therefore insured—which is actually a very important component. Additionally, a key piece that most people don’t even know about is the safety plan and event insurance facilitated by our Insurance Director, Leslie Tyson. That’s a big headache and a vital piece. I’m so very relieved and thankful that Leslie is willing to take on those Pain-In-The-Arse tasks!

We had 200 people in attendance at our 2017 event. The camp sites were full and people HAD to make friends with their camp neighbors. Which is a big part of the event, anyway, and if you’re not interested in connecting with other people, this is NOT the event for you! If you met fun people at Training Camp and don’t know how to contact them now, you can find them via the CW member directory on line. Log in at  and go to the RESOURCES tab, then click on member directory.

On Friday night, we had kayak porn and social time while volunteers manned the check-in table.  Saturday morning, we got things moving with a quick safety talk by the wild and wonderful Jon Baskin. You know, the 6’8” tall guy wearing a onesie decorated with ducks? Allison Piper White led us through some good stretches to get us ready to hit the water, and a volunteer from Colorado Parks and Wildlife was present to sell state park passes and encourage us to participate in the river cleanup that Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) hosts the same weekend every year. They have a terrific safety brochure with maps of the area available here:

Instructors came forward to claim their groups, and everyone began to prepare for the on-water fun. We had a wide range of classes and abilities from brand-new kayakers who just completed pool classes and their first time on moving water to next level—getting to the next level, complete with video playback. We had high attendance in the Level B Intermediate Fundamentals classes (had to add more!), and not as many people in the level C and D groups. Of course, the Intro to Playboating class with Mat Dumoulin of Team Jackson / Jackson Kayak was a big hit. We also had terrific guest instructors Holly McClintock from Four Corners Rafting in Durango, and Josh Aronow from River Runners in BV. RMOC also loaned us instructors, along with 4 Corners and River Runners. We appreciate the assistance and sponsorship from these companies and their bright and shiny instructors!

Saturday evening, we had great food provided by our own Brian Sweeney and his lovely wife Silvia Schuhmann, followed by live music from Chain Station Mountain Music, which got a ton of people to their feet with bluegrassy originals and covers of everything from Tom Petty to Johnny Cash.

Sunday morning, we had our awards and the big deal—the RAFFLE! We had so many terrific prizes provided by friends and sponsors, it was quite a spectacle and our Events Director Laurie Maciag ran her tukus off handling the presentation, culminating with the grand prize of the Jackson 4Fun Kayak.

Thanks to everyone who participated in yet another wildly fun event, and we’re gonna do it again next year, so mark your calendar now for May 18–20, 2018!

Colorado Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  455 Sherman Street, Suite 300 Denver, CO 80203

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