The Gift of Measured Risk

Justin Bennett July 7, 2022

“Some measured risk is a crucial part of our development as we grow up. It is something to be sought out, rather than avoided.” — Levison Wood

It’s easy to understand the idea of “measured risk” through the context of whitewater kayaking. The sport of kayaking is defined by six classes of difficulty. 

Classes I-II are the easiest rivers and require only a basic understanding of how to navigate it. As one progresses up the class system, the difficulty of navigating a river and its rapids increases. 

Classes III-IV require knowledge of river behavior and a set of specialized skills to maneuver it safely. Class V breaches the realm of extremely difficult. It demands respect and a high level of experience from any boater attempting. 

Class VI is considered unnavigable or unrunnable, that is until someone pushes the envelope beyond what was previously thought possible. 

“Measured risk” is the ability to recognize difficulties and hazards and then weigh them against experience and specialized knowledge. 

This ability allows one to make a calculated assessment of challenge and outcome. 

Here at Rockmont, we offer our campers the opportunity to face the challenge of navigating rivers up to class III or IV. 

The outcome is growth in leadership, self-confidence, and independence. 

Because safety is our No. 1 concern, we take all measures to make sure our campers are equipped with the skills and knowledge required to safely navigate the river. 

Many of our Summit Campers took advantage of this opportunity to get on a river. Because their summer experience was four weeks, they could spend ample time in the lake working on the required skills. 

The first trip they took was to a slow moving class II river. 

Here, they tried out their skills in a real-world scenario and got tangible lessons on river safety. Throughout the trip, they worked on rolling a kayak in moving water, ferrying across the current, and reading rapids. 

This experience laid the foundation for the campers to keep building upon. 

With more time working in the lake, they were able to hone the skills needed to go on an overnight trip to the Tuckaseegee and French Broad Rivers. 

Their ability and confidence progressed with each river they kayaked. 

This past week, these campers went on their capstone trip to the Nantahala River and came back on fire for life. 

In just a few weeks they were able to see themselves progress from Class I to IV. A river that initially looked scary, now, looked conquerable. 

Their dedication to progression had equipped them with the ability to overcome challenges and navigate the river safely! What a gift that is for them and all the people they come across in their adventures to come!!

Justin Bennett

Assistant Camp Director

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