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Second Annual Whitewater Rafting Leadership Lab a Huge Success!

posted Jul 28, 2015, 1:24 PM by William Hrinko
Whitewater Rafting Leadership Lab
After months of planning and approvals, the squadron successfully completed its second annual Whitewater Rafting Leadership Lab! This activity was designed to put every principle taught in CAP's leadership curriculum into play during one continuous, exciting 5 hour activity. In terms of leadership, the trip greatly strengthened skills in communication, teamwork, leadership, followership, problem solving, critical thinking, the decision making process, personal dynamics, and much more. Each cadet, and even senior members, also got a huge boost in self confidence. Leadership wasn't the only thing practiced though. Physical fitness definitely came into play as well as Aerospace Education. Similar to air, water reacts the same way in teaching the cadets about fluid dynamics. Seeing what is happening first-hand with their paddles acting much the same as a propeller, aileron, flap, and rudder all rolled into one to guide their rafts down the river.

After an early morning drive through the mountains to Ohiopyle State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, the squadron members received an in-depth safety briefing for the day before hitting the Lower Youghiogheny River. Our squadron members divided into five rafts with one cadet in charge of each boat - leading their boat members and calling commands. The water levels were great: 2 feet at the river gage and 1050 cubic feet per second of water discharge. This allowed a fast pace and exciting thrills with less rocks to worry about getting stuck on, as opposed to last year. Quickly the teams learned to refine their communications so that everyone in the boat understood their roles and what each command meant. Before long, they were running each rapid skillfully, threading tight passages throughout massive boulders and submerged obstacles. There were a few out-of-boat experiences, but they were the best teachers in teamwork. Each boat worked quickly in conjunction with the river guides to get each swimmer back into their boats - building trust between teammates. There was also time to relax with several spots where the participants could get out and swim in the refreshing 67 degree water and jump off of boulders into deep sections of the river. Everyone had a great time and learned a lot!  In all, 25 squadron members and two family members participated.  Check out our Facebook photo gallery for more pictures.

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