Have you ever seen a group of kids more excited to be with their state representatives? This is the kind of academic exhilaration inspired by our newest policy-based program, Basin Voyage. This hybrid program crosses the academic rigor of Youth Policy Summit with the kind of fun and adventure that any KSS camper can experience on one of our Keystone Mountain Adventures. The result is an action-packed, 6-day adventure that brings young people right into the heart of water issues in Colorado. From learning about flood irrigation on a western Colorado ranch to debating the use of damming and hydroelectric power on Colorado’s rivers, Basin Voyage participants are literally getting wet and wild while they learn.
Our first ever Basin Voyage took place last week, June 8th – 14th. The students met Colorado Representatives Don Coram and Jerry Sonnenberg during their final project presentation to a group of experts, stakeholders, and legislators. The students and their leaders had an amazing time and learned more about water issues in western states in one week than many of us learn in a lifetime.
Mountain Sports Kayak School out of Steamboat, Colorado taught students to kayak on the Yampa River. Students took turns paddling around on calm waters, playing in eddies, and practicing their technique. After playing in the water students took water samples and learned to test water quality.
Students camped out every night in some of the most beautiful parts of Colorado, and always close to water. “While walking through dams, hiking by raging rivers, and kayaking directly on the Yampa River, I felt wholly in touch with the variety of adventures that come with a healthy water supply,” wrote one high school student of his experience. “Most importantly though, were the campsites we lived in for the past five days. The surrounding view from Steamboat Lake State Park was breathtaking, and it is a view of nature that I hope my children and grandchildren will get the opportunity to see as well.” So do we, my friend. So do we.