As the needs of people continue to grow, so do the number of regional non-profit organizations designed to improve the lives of residents.
One program that leads the way is River’s Way, an outdoor adventure center located near Bristol. Using the mission statement, “Growth through experiential and adventure based programming for youth of all abilities,” River’s Way truly lives up to its motto.
River's Way, which receives funding from the United Way of Bristol and the United Way of Russell and Washington Counties, is a program that helps youth with disadvantaged backgrounds and disabilities, as well as young adults who have special needs.
As a Bonner Scholar at Emory & Henry College, River’s Way has been a wonderful experience for me. One of the reasons I love volunteering at the camp are the bonds that are formed after weekend trips. I make new friends with the campers and other volunteers at each event.
I have worked with many non-profit organizations in the area, and I can honestly say that River’s Way is one of my favorite service sites. Every trip is different and always a fun experience. I was not familiar with River’s Way when I signed up to volunteer as a first-year student, but after my first weekend trip, I make sure to participate when possible.
River’s Way makes great contributions to the region, as well as to neighboring communities. The organization provides day and overnight trips, and weekend stays. On their arrival, the campers are assigned a buddy whose main purpose is to encourage and bond with the camper. Many of the buddies are student volunteers from Emory & Henry College, who complete on-site training in order to participate.
The grounds of the camp are located along the South Fork of the Holston River on 30 acres with a riverside view. The accommodations include girls’ and boys’ bunk rooms, a dining hall for meals and working on crafts, a kitchen, and a den for group activities.
Campers participate in a variety of activities, each focusing on skill development. Activities include arts and crafts projects, team-building games, and skits and plays.
River’s Way features a high ropes course. Campers can choose to be harnessed and lifted into a high ropes obstacle course. The campers and buddies help their teammates navigate around the obstacles. The activity provides the participants with the thrill of adventure, as well as the opportunity to enhance verbal communication and problem solving.
Everyone pitches in when it comes time to clean. Participants and their buddies are responsible for cleaning bunk rooms and preparing and cleaning after meals. Campers learn to assume responsibilities, as well as to develop a sense of ownership of the facility.
For more information on the camp and scheduled events, visit www.riversway.org .