In July of 2013, I lead my first trip on Oregon's Wild & Scenic Rogue River. The group was comprised of several outstanding high school students - smart, confident, curious young adults who displayed extraordinary leadership qualities. One evening on that expedition, as the kids giggled together with several guides around the campfire, I enjoyed a conversation with our lead guide who has been rowing rivers and managing guide staffs for more than three decades. At one point during that conversation, he looked at me, pointed to the incredible young adults we'd gotten to know and admire and said, "the greatest thing about what you're doing here is that 5 years down the line, that's your staff."
Those words have rung in my head ever since.
More recently, several of our older GOALS graduates have approached me about the possibility of helping to lead trips - wanting a chance to mentor kids and serve as positive role models just as someone had done for them years before. GOALS put a few of these motivated graduates in program leadership positions last year, and the results were very positive for everyone involved. Now, we're excited to welcome a few of our best and brightest into the GOALS guide staff by officially launching the OARLOCK award.
You may remember the OARLOCK fundraising campaign GOALS launched at the end of 2016 to honor Arlo Tejada and turn this vision into reality. Through the generosity of GOALS donors, we're now giving a pair of young adults the chance of a lifetime to explore and learn - then share their knowledge gained with kids in the programs they'll each be leading next year. Since it will ultimately be their responsibility to connect, inspire, and empower people on rivers, we're connecting, inspiring, and empowering them through an exceptional opportunity to explore and grow before they begin. In March, we'll travel together to Chile and spend 9 days exploring the famous Futaleufu River and its' tributaries - a river equally known for its’ scenery and rapids as it is for the constant battle being waged to keep it from falling to hydroelectric dams. We'll meet with local government officials and activists to understand an much about both sides of the damming argument as we can. We'll connect with rural school children and educators in the area to begin building partnerships that may lead to international learning opportunities for future GOALS groups. We'll search. We'll reflect. We'll navigate. I'm certain that through it all, we'll come to believe things that we can't even dream up yet.
Two months later, in mid-May, our oARLOcks will then complete a professional guide training through Sheri Griffith Expeditions, and will begin their service commitment to GOALS of volunteering no less than 30 days over the next two years – most of which will be with hands on oars as they use their passion, knowledge, experience, and leadership to make the same profound personal growth opportunities available for younger participants that someone once did for them.
THE 2017 OARLOCK AWARD WINNERS
My name is Ben Shay and I am proud to be one of the first recipients of the oARLOck award. My GOALS journey - and what would effectively become my life journey - began on a trip through Desolation Canyon as an 8th grader in 2009. What would grow from that trip was a passion for anything rivers. I returned to GOALS for an additional expedition through Cataract Canyon, and have since become involved in several facets of the river community - guiding commercially and even racing rafts on the USA Mens U23 team. Each time I'm on the river, I reconnect to that first trip. There's no better way to continue experiencing the magic than to share it with others. I believe in the power of this program and I'm thrilled to continue leading GOALS trips for kids who may arrive at the same transformation I didn't know I was headed toward as I entered Desolation Canyon 8 years ago. I am honored to use my passion, talent, and experience to expand what can only be seen as a life changing program.
Hi! My name is Camille Kintzele. I grew up in Evergreen and have been involved with GOALS for the past five years - from my first Cataract Canyon expedition in Utah as a high school student in 2012 to Oregon's Rogue River and Idaho's Main Salmon - and ultimately to leading my own trip for middle school students in Desolation Canyon last summer. Throughout my own GOALS journey, the canyon has become my classroom, my sanctuary, and a place that has shaped me into the person that I am proud to be today. It feels like a dream that I am an oARLOck winner, and will not only get to witness the transformation that takes place between the put in and the take out as kids become more aware of themselves and the world around them - I'll get to help make it happen. I am beyond excited to be a part of the GOALS family!
This is ridiculously exciting. It represents so much more than a few new hires. These aren't just interns or summer staff members. They're integral human components that deliver our mission and shape young lives.
The potential that lies within our oARLOck program is only beginning to be understood. It honors Arlo's legacy, while allowing for the expansion of our programs to serve more kids who benefit from be guided by qualified and experienced role models that were once in the same spot as the kids now looking up to them as mentors. We're very proud of the first set of oARLOcks, and can't wait to see where this leads them - and GOALS - downstream.