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By Emily Jackson

Just got back from 5 awesome days teaching the NOC Teen Camp. We had 4 students with us, each being enthusiastic, eager teenage boys. We started the week off with two days on the Natahala where we focused on strokes, rolls and basic river running. The next day we went and visited Big Rocks on the Arkasas River. Dillon and Jason were going for loops and cartwheels while Alex and Will were spending quite a bit of time visiting the fish. In the end everyone was super stoked just to be surfing it. Its a faster steeper hole so i was proud just watching them go in. And the carnage was awesome!

The next day was filled with the Action Packed Ocoee river. It was most of our kids 2nd or third trip down but it was Alex’s first. It was fun to see Alex progress through the day, it started off a little rough with a few swims and bumped heads but as we wear nearing our take out Alex had improved dramatically, as did his roll.

When we arrived at hell hole Dillon jumped in my two fun and it was the first time i actually saw him giggling and having a blast. He was throwing moves all over the hole and we had to pretty much drag him out of the river. Will was nervous about surfing hell hole and didn’t want to go in, but once i forced him he asked that we didn’t even run the river the next day but surf hell hole for the entire afternoon.

The last day was also spent on the Ocoee and everyone was super fired up for their last run. We had Alex running the meat of each rapid and succeeding each try with his roll. Everyone else had a blast during our goodbye surf at Hells Hole where we worked on spins and edge control. Big Kudos to all my students for their amazing improvements, each have amazing back deck rolls and can be seen kickflipping every tiny wave!

Big thanks to Andrew for driving us around and being the Mama Duck! Made the trip super fun for us!

If anyone ever wants to take a kids teen camp be sure to look up dates at the Natahala Outdoor Center!

Happy Paddling