On September 26-27th, 3 ICO volunteers (Jeff, Jen, and Mari) and Joao, the group leader from St. Peters, along with 11 young men ranging from 14-17 went on a camping and whitewater rafting trip in Western MA and Vermont. The trip started out with some informal soccer games at St. Peters, where the groups loaded up around 1pm and drove out to Walden Pond in Concord for a picnic lunch and to explore the pond and trees and the fall colors.
The group made it out the Mohawk Trail State Forest campground in Charlemont before nightfall, and the kids did an excellent job in quickly setting up the campsite and tents, and pitching in to build the fire and cook a dinner of pasta, sausages, and salad. After dinner, the group huddled around the fire for some marshmallows and scary (and funny) stories, and we all got to learn a bit more about all of our various backgrounds.
We broke camp early in the morning after some hot chocolate, juice, and cereal/oatmeal in the morning at the campsite, and drove north to Stratton Mountain resort to meet the Zoar Outdoor guides to get ready for a trip on the West River. We all loaded up on a schoolbus and drove to the base of a dam on the river that was gushing, as this is one of the only times of the year that water is released to generate raftable rapids, so it was a special treat. After learning how to safely paddle and work together as a group to power the rafts, we spent a few hours heading down the river, doing tricks in the rafts ("willies" and "surfing"), soaring through the rapids, and getting in some epic splash fights with ourselves and other boats! The water was cold, but the perfect sunny weather kept us warm.
After a great day or rafting, we headed back to the Mountain base lodge for a barbecue lunch and got to see all the photos of our boats heading down the river. To reflect on the trip, we huddled up for a group circle to share everything we loved most about the trip (mostly the rafting!) It was a lot of fun, and all the kids wanted to do another rafting trip someday soon!
Link to photos here: http://www.bostonico.org/apps/photos/album?albumid=15743961