By Deyanira Romo Rossell, 502nd FSS MarketingJune 16, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Summer campers who sign up for the EDGE! Program at Fort Sam Houston know to expect a challenge, and the Wednesday kayaking trip is one of the best.
Fifteen campers, many of whom have never paddled a kayak or even been on a lake, take the trek to Canyon Lake and quickly discover that the real adventure is not in video games or movies.
“I have never been kayaking,” says D’Andre Barnett on the 45-minute van ride to the lake. The fifteen-year-old high school student, like the rest of the campers is anxious to get in the water. “I can’t wait to try it!”
Once the campers arrive at the lake, program director Nita Ford-Hightower and five other EDGE! staff members go over safety information and hand out life jackets, the smallest one going to the youngest in the group, 7-year-old Lymaria Sprowl.
The campers, some in canoes with instructors and the more daring in their own kayaks, begin navigating the water, with their brightly colored life jackets and vessels.
Riding with Hightower, Sprowl clings to the canoe and feels a little seasick, but after a while she loosens her grip saying, “I’m okay now. I’m starting to get used to it and its fun.”
A couple of middle school Boy Scouts on the trip had a great time, adding more hours of adventure to an already impressive resume as trained outdoorsmen. Brandon Sivil and Logan Moseley, both 12 years old, quickly maneuver through the lake like pros, ready to rescue any of their fellow kayakers.
“This is great. I love the water. I’ll be back next week,” says Moseley as he paddles around other kayakers just getting their sea legs. “It’s crazy. Everyone keeps running into me.”
Others bumped into each other and some wound up on the bank trying to push themselves back into the water.
“For a lot of these kids, this is the first time they have been exposed to being in a lake and a kayak, so it is good exposure for them,” Hightower said, paddling toward the stranded kayakers.
Before returning to Fort Sam Houston, the campers take a dip in the lake, which turns out to be as much a part of the adventure as learning to maneuver a kayak.
“My shoes are all full of mud and rocks,” Barnett said.
It was all worth it. On the trip home, Barnett said, “It was awesome. I got to go kayaking. It was a new experience. I’ve never done that before.”
From kayaking to cooking, the EDGE! is boiling over with exciting activities for children in grades one through 12.