The National Park Service turns 100 years old this year and I was lucky enough to get invited to kick off NPS week for the Buffalo NPS. I was also asked to be a keynote speaker for the ARAP conference at horseshoe canyon ranch and talk about fight to SOAR and reconnecting our youth to the outdoors through SUP adventure.
The University of Arkansas outdoor rec department host a conference every year for young leaders of university outdoor programs from around the U.S. Its a held at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which is a working dude ranch and one of the best climbing destinations in the nation.
The presentation was held in an old barn that had climbing holds lining its walls. This was my first real speaking engagement so my nerves were on high alert, but the atmosphere and amazing youth attending made it a lot easier to deal with. I haven't thrown a rope in a while, luckily they had a roping dummy outside so I got to distract myself with that and teach a few others to rope as well.
The presentation was a huge success and I think it hit home with a lot of the youth there. The next day was a full day of SUP camping clinics for the Buffalo National Park on the Buffalo River. I was very excited to introduce SUP and SUP camping to a lot of new people.
After the classes we took a paddle with a few of the students down the river. I love seeing people get excited about SUP and the outdoors and this little paddle made me the happiest teacher ever. In two miles I saw growth, pure honest joy and a fire inside each one of them that was ignited from this short adventure. Thanks to Garmin I was able document this trip and I'm working on a small video, I can't wait to share! We also had some amazing photographers Josh Aldrige and Terra Fondriest join us as well.