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This introduction to the sport of whitewater kayaking is designed for both beginning and experienced paddlers. Campers will learn from an American Canoe Association certified instructor affiliated with Girls at Play, a group dedicated to providing resources to women interested in whitewater kayaking. Accompanied by women from Hollins' nationally ranked downriver racing team, campers will spend five days camping and navigating the pristine rivers of Southwest Virginia, all in close proximity to Hollins' beautiful campus.
ACA certified instructors provide a level of quality and depth of knowledge that is unique in the paddlesports industry. The ACA curriculum has been developed by professional master instructors with many years of experience both paddling and teaching. Taking a class from an ACA instructor means that you are receiving the highest quality kayak instruction with a strong focus on safety and fun!
Campers will benefit from guidance provided by an instructor from Girls at Play, an organization based in Asheville, North Carolina, dedicated to inspiring women and enhancing their lives through kayaking, stand-up paddle (SUP), yoga, and travel. Anna Levesque founded Girls at Play out of frustration with the lack of resources dedicated to women in the whitewater kayaking industry. She has designed Girls at Play workshops, trips, instructional tools, and accessories to provide an environment in which paddle sports feel accessible, fun, inspiring, adventurous, and supportive.
Born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Emily did not discover her love for whitewater kayaking until she moved to the Southeast in 2006 to attend Warren Wilson College. After dedicating herself to kayaking in 2007, she progressed quickly and soon began instructing. Simultaneously, Emily began focusing on getting more women involved in the sport, a passion which she still drives her today. For 11 consecutive years she attended/worked at an all-girls' wilderness adventure summer camp, providing her with countless transformative experiences with other women, and growing her passion for empowerment and discovery in the outdoors. Emily has been working with Girls at Play since the summer of 2011. Since that time she has acquired her ACA (American Canoe Association) Level 4 whitewater kayaking instructor certification, as well as her Level 2 stand up paddleboard instructor certification.
Sadie has been enjoying whitewater kayaking and canoeing for two years. She is the team captain of the Hollins Downriver Racing Team, and has enjoyed participating in the ACA Collegiate Downriver Race Series. She is a trip leader for the Hollins Outdoor Program and will be graduating in May with the Hollins Outdoor Leadership Certificate. She is also a Leave No Trace trainer and a certified Wilderness First Responder. Sadie has worked at summer camp programs in North Carolina, Utah, and Maine, and developed a summer program for at-risk youths learning to fly in Salt Lake City. She also recently designed a program of events for local youth paddlers in Roanoke as part of an internship with the Hollins Outdoor Program. Sadie is also a member of the Advisory Council for Adventure Youth Mentoring, offering advice, service, event planning, and fundraising to the organization. She currently works as an instructor at a local rock climbing gym.