Rivers For All

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Rivers For All (RFA) mission is to increase river access among local, under-served populations through low-cost, river-focused adventures that deepen connection to local watersheds and build leadership in our communities.  

In addition to nurturing rich ecosystems, rivers provide many physical and mental health benefits and offer an important way to gain self-understanding and an appreciation for the impact of the environment on one’s wellbeing and to the whole of a community.

But oftentimes youth and individuals who would most benefit from an "outdoor classroom” can’t afford or don’t have access to the gear that would allow them to get on the river in a safe or structured manner.

RFA’s curriculum is based on the intention and passion for creating positive life-changing experiences through whitewater rafting. A sport of accessibility, rafting allows people of all abilities a chance to experience the benefits of the river. In each boat, individuals work together paddling and focusing on being a team. River safety is emphasised on and off the water, giving individuals the knowledge through experience on the foundation of risk management and decision making skills. These experiences give individuals a way of being physically active, exploring the beauty of nature, while sharing the experience with others.

Unlike other water sources, rivers combine the thrill of rapids as well as the flip side of tranquillity found in calm slow-moving water. When floating through sections of calm river, RFA encourages mindful silence so as to tune into the natural sounds. This form of mindfulness shows individuals how to calm their mind, de-stress from the busy, typically noisy world, and learn how to be fully present in the beautiful places we call home.  

RFA’s rafting trips educate participants in leadership and natural resource preservation and demonstrates how both can be applied to the community and the watershed in which they live. The experience teaches teamwork, communication, self-confidence, risk management, decision-making, and tolerance for adversity and uncertainty.

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My favorite part of the trip was just getting to see the excitement from the youth that had never been rafting before! It was inspiring and felt good to be involved with two organizations who have the participants’ best interests at heart.
— Kateel Muhs, Big Brothers Big Sisters
I knew it was going to be a fun day when we approached the first riffle (Class I), and a kid yells, ‘Look at the rapid!.’ They were so excited!
— All Adventures River Guide

Program leadership

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Paul Gillingham

At the age of 15, The YMCA director gave Paul and his friends an opportunity to go on a rafting trip down the Klamath River in California. This river experience and follow up youth guide training changed Paul's life, giving him unanticipated skills and confidence to explore local rivers. Paul found his passion for sharing river experiences with others after spending highschool summers raft guiding on the Klamath River. At Humboldt State University he studied Ecological Restoration with an emphasis in River Restoration as he continued to raft guide and teach kayaking for the university outdoor program. After graduating, Paul worked as an ACA Kayak Instructor and teacher for National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Paul realizes the inequity within the outdoor recreation industry and sees his experience on the river as a youth unique and a major privilege - one which he sharing with others through Rivers For All.

 

Help our community experience the beauty, power, and life lessons of rivers 

In first year of its inception, Rivers For All has provided inspiring programming for free to 52 local participants but there are so many more people we can service. Please help us ensure everyone in the community has an opportunity to connect to their local watershed through the exciting and intimate experience of whitewater rafting.

Partners

Sponsors