A Day in the Life
New River Academy will be continuing educational and kayak adventure programs via our university age transition program “Patagonia Study Abroad.” New River Academy’s kayak high school now continues under World Class Academy.
For more information about New River Academy’s and World Classes new strategic partnership click here, "New River and World Class Academies Align High School and University Programs."
If you are interested in the best kayak high school program in the world click here for World Class Academy.
If you are interested in learning more about our kayak study abroad and gap year programs click here for New River Academy’s Patagonia Study Abroad.
"Through this lense I see the world in a different way opening new perspectives." -Claire Dibble, photo instructor
A Typical Day at New River Academy
You’re probably wondering what a typical day at New River Academy will be like. It will be a big change from what you’re used to, but oh, it’s fun….and after just a few days it will feel like normal.
On a typical day, you roll out of your sleeping bag around 7:30 am. Morning workout is a game of Frisbee outside on a foggy field with the sun rising quickly above you, or a quick run past colorful shops and fruit stands. You might even brave your chilly kayak gear and do a morning play session!
Where will you stay and what about food?
You are in a rural Chilean lodge near the Andes mountain range, in the rainforest of South America, on the banks of the Ottawa River, or in even riverside in Africa!
About once a week, you will be in charge of cooking breakfast, along with your mentor teacher and another student. Making a big breakfast for everyone is a workout of its own. You’ll mix bowls of pancake batter, throw strips of bacon on a griddle and scramble up eggs with chopped onions. Before you know it, your friends are streaming in from morning workout, dripping wet from dew and already talking loudly about the day, grabbing plates and jostling one another to have first dibs on the bacon. Each morning at New River Academy you will enjoy a hot breakfast- you’ll need it to fuel the busy day ahead of you.
The golden teacher to student ratio allows students to receive individual attention and mastery of course content.
First Period Begins after Breakfast
Classes begin after the dishes have been washed and the kitchen cleaned up. Your teacher will find a warm spot by the river or a sunny picnic table to hold class. Relax under the morning sun as you discuss the reading you did last night, or learn the quadratic equation off of a white board as the breeze lifts up your hair. Each class lasts about an hour. You will be amazed by how quickly and thoroughly you will advance through the material, because of how small and focused your classes are. This means you will have more time for fun activities, like an ocean-side poetry reading or a Spanish scavenger hunt that sets you dashing through the little towns of Chile.
At lunchtime, you’ll eat big bowls of pasta salad, quesadillas, fruit salad and sandwiches. Often times, we’ll have a cook to prepare and serve us lunch and dinner. Plates of fresh tomato salad, fried bread and stews made from local meat and vegetables will be a delicious way to break up the class day.
In the heat of the noonday sun, you will probably seek out a shady spot for class, under a big tree or inside a cool cabin with the windows wide open. Get ready for AP vocab, geometry, and the subjunctive tense. Get ready to be thoroughly challenged, and be an active participant- there are probably only two or three other students in your class.
Since New River Academy seeks warm destinations during your normal winter months, you can expect to have your afternoon classes outside in the sunshine. Imagine reading and discussing the poetry of Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet…while sitting on the same beach where Pablo Neruda grew up! Because there are only three students in your class, any time you have a question, need extra help, or want to get some feedback on the story you wrote just for fun, your teacher has the time and energy to give you that personal attention.
When do you get to kayak?
As soon as 6th period ends, you’ll spend a moment or two cleaning up the base and organizing your things. Now you are excited for the best part of the day- KAYAKING!!! Throw your gear bag in the back of the truck, load up the trailer with all the boats, and we’re off! Clamor over everyone else to be the first to hook your Ipod up to the speakers, then shout to your friends over the music, full of energy and anticipation. You’ll pass through brightly painted beachside towns, lean out the windows to get a shot of the volcano on the horizon, or wind down West Virginia roads into the New River Gorge. Many times, we are living right on the banks of the river, and all you have to do is walk down a few yards to the put in.
Your afternoon kayak session will consist of paddling downriver, gaining confidence paddling class III and IV, mastering aerial freestyle o the world’s best waves, or learning how to drop a clean waterfall in Chile. Before you ferry into the current, lean back in your kayak, check out the blue sky above you and the green water rushing past, and try to believe that yes, you are in school! You’ll paddle through tight creeks, big waves and wide open rivers. If you have a question about a rapid, discuss it with your coach or scout it to find the cleanest line.
Parents Love Photo and Video Classes
If you are a photo or video student, you will probably want to get some shots. Be creative getting the best angle, set up a tripod next to the river for a long exposure, and try and capture the unique feeling of that particular river. Your friends will bug you until you’ve given them a slideshow of action shots, they love seeing the pictures you took of them, and you will be proud of what you’ve accomplished. The next few hours will be filled with rapids and splashing waves, clean drops and huge boofs. If you’re playboating, your coach will work with you one on one to master your spin, roundhouse, loop or mcnasty.
Once you reach the take out, you will be grinning from ear to ear. You’ll already be day dreaming of the letters you’ll send home, detailing the waterfall and the rapids you just ran. Next time you get on facebook, you’ll be so proud to change your profile picture to a shot of you running another gorgeous river.
Now load your boat, change into warm, dry clothes and savor the feeling of complete contentment on the drive home. You have studied and paddled hard all day, and now you’ve earned some relaxation. Read a book, take a hot shower back at the base, get a game of Uno or hearts going, or just chill out.
Sometimes we’ll have a cook making us dinner. Helping her out by baking the bread is a perfect way to practice your Spanish. Or, you and your mentor group might be in charge of dinner, which means singing along to the tunes from someone’s computer and chopping up peppers and garlic for a stir fry. The other students and teachers will be so excited to eat, they’ll come running from all directions when you shout “dinner’s ready, come and get it!”
Eat dinner together with all of your teachers and friends, sometimes around a big table, sometimes around a campfire. Hunger is the best sauce, and you will enjoy every bite.
After you are full and the dishes are washed, it’s time for study hall. This is when camp is the most quiet and peaceful. Study by lamplight around a heavy wooden table with your friends, editing photos, reading, writing essays, piecing together a video masterpiece and working out math problems. If you have any questions about your homework, your teacher is right there to help you out.
After study hall you will pack up your work, double check that your kayak gear is hanging up to dry, change into some pajamas and head out to the camp fire. Maybe listen to a few river adventure stories or ghost stories your friends swear up and down are true. There is always a teacher who likes to tell exceedingly long jokes. Someone may heat up some water for tea and hot chocolate. You’ll notice your friends drop off one by one, until eventually you can’t keep your own eye lids from closing, and you’ll find yourself so grateful to be climbing into your sleeping bag. Set your alarm for the next day, turn off your headlamp, and you’ll be asleep in absolutely no time at all. Chances are, you’ll dream about whitewater.
Alternative Activities to Kayaking
Now, remember, this is a typical day, but there are often variations. Once a week, you’ll take a day off the river to rest and explore. You’ll look forward to these days because we always find something exciting to do- we’ll go hiking up a volcano, go canyoneering or do a photo shoot from a zip line over the river. Some days we’ll just take a breather, and have a few hours to take a nap, read a book, or head into town for ice cream, smoothies, shopping and internet.
Sometimes we’ll take field trips to places of historic or ecological relevance, or put on a play entirely in Spanish. Sometimes your survival class will have you brewing up white pine tea or making arrow heads. Sometimes you’ll spend your evening setting up a long exposure photo shoot. Some days you’ll be kayak surfing or exploring the beach, some days you’ll be travelling from here to there.
Always, you will be invigorated and amazed by just how much you can pack into one day. Going to bed tired and happy, and waking up excited…this is the best reward.
“OK I am interested, tell me more about applying to New River Academy."