Whitewater Voyages River Rafting Training & Skills

With over 30 years of rafting experience, Bill McGinnis has authored numerous books and articles on the subject of running rivers. Bill shares some of his insight into river running through the following series of articles:
  1. Leadership Skills: Creating Deep Fun
  2. Leadership Skills: The Inner Question
  3. Rafting Technique: Punching Holes
  4. Rafting Skills: Eddy is Your Friend
  5. Rafting Skills: Coping with Flips
  6. Rafting Skills: High Water Safety
  7. Guiding Skills: River Games
  8. Guiding Skills: Games for River Trips
The Guide's Guide Augmented

Leadership Skill: Creating Deep Fun:
Moving People from Fear to Confidence to Joy

by William McGinnis

December 31, 2005

Fear is a limiting factor in whitewater rafting, and many other outdoor and adventure sports. We'll learn some useful techniques for taking someone's fear, and helping them get beyond the fear, to experience the joy of accomplishment.

Deep FunFor people new to rafting, the thought of floating down through the swirling currents and surging, cresting waves of an actual wild river in an inflatable rubber boat composed mainly of thin air can be a daunting prospect. Such fears are entirely normal. In fact, when most people contemplate outdoor adventure activities like whitewater rafting, it is entirely normal to experience fear, consciously or unconsciously, on a number of levels. There is physical fear: Am I going to get hurt? Am I going to die? There is social fear: Am I going to be accepted or rejected by this group? And biggest of all, for most of us, are fears around issues of self esteem: Can I do this? Am I OK?

Skilled river guides can implicitly assuage all of these fears in the very way they prepare people and guide them down the river. Every trip begins with a thorough safety talk and in-boat training which teach everything trip members need to know to make it safely down the river"thereby addressing physical fear. And by doing this with warmth, caring, good humor and respect, professional guides create an atmosphere of acceptance and support and good fun in which social fears and fears around issues of self esteem melt away.

In fact, a river journey with well-trained guides is much more than just a physical movement from put-in to take-out, it is a journey from fear to confidence to joy, from being a stranger to being known and feeling bonded with one's boat mates, from feeling perhaps scattered and self-critical inside to feeling more self-accepting, more whole, more fully alive – and, as an extra plus, it is a journey from feeling cut off from the natural world to feeling connected with and truly amazed and delighted by the magic of our planet. In short, a well-guided river trip is a voyage into deep fun.


The above is an excerpt from Bill's new book The Guide's Guide Augmented. The definitive how-to book on professional guiding, The Guide's Guide Augmented presents a comprehensive philosophy and detailed methods for creating deep fun: Trips which entertain, inspire, educate, thrill, heal and delight. To learn more about Bill's books, river trips, and 2-, 5-, & 7-day guide schools, visit WhitewaterVoyages.com or call 800-400-RAFT.

" We have been rafting with you for 5 years and have enjoyed the frequent rafter discount. Your guides are always very fun and safe. I just completed 2 days of the Kayak school and Tracy was fantastic, he really made it fun. I can't wait to do the rest of the course. See you this weekend for 2 days on the Kaweah! "
- Kirsten
San Luis Obispo, California

Other River Trips You Might Like:

Lower Kern River Jungle Run
Class III-IV - 1 Day

Lower Kern River Big Water
Class IV - 1 Day

Lower Kern River Southern Sierra Escape
Class III-IV - 2 Days

Upper Kern River Snap, Crackle and Pop
Class III-IV - 1/2 to 1 Day

Kings River Mega Joy Ride
Class III+ - 2 Days

Merced River Foam Dancer
Class IV - 2 Day

Middle Fork American River Blaster
Class II-IV - 1 or 2 Days

Kaweah River Sequoia Gateway
Class IV+ - 2 Day

North Yuba River Maytag Whirl
Class III-IV - 1 & 2 Days

Whitewater Guide School

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Whitewater Voyages
11006 Kernville Road, Kernville, CA 93238
Call Toll Free: 800-400-7238
The Leader in California White Water Rafting Trips Since 1975

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