Jesse Coombs Foundation - Job Corp Anti-drug and Kayaking Presentation
By Jason Rackley

Jesse scheduled a JC Foundation presentation on a Saturday in early February. The event was supposed to kick off at 1:30 in Roseburg, so I was on the road very early, headed south. We met at Jesse's house in Corvallis at 8:30 and loaded eleven boats on Jesse's 'Waterfallia' in the pouring rain. I think this is the most boats Jesse has ever had on and/or in the van at the same time.

We headed south and the headwind was very strong blowing up the valley from southern Oregon. The van was struggling to maintain fifty miles per hour with the boats acting as a sail/anchor. Semi trucks were whizzing by on the left as we crawled along in the slow lane, which was a little nerve-wracking at first but we got used to it after the first twenty or so.

On the way down Jesse called the Job Corp organizer, and she warned us that we should try to 'Get the ringleaders of the group on our side' and then we 'should be ok', etc. We were a little concerned about this, but in the end all of our concerns were for nothing!

We reach Roseburg in about three hours, and stopped at a questionable looking restaurant for some semi-decent burgers and sodas before heading over to the YMCA to set up.

Arriving at the Roseburg YMCA, loaded down with eleven boats ( seven on top, four inside )

It was still pouring as we unloaded the boats and handed the over the fence guarding the back entrance to the pool. Once the boats were staged, we went over to the conference room where the Job Corp participants were waiting.

Jesse and I gave a talk about kayaking and life choices and drugs. Everyone went around the table and shared their goals, dreams and aspirations. There were several recovering addicts in the group, and they were especially proud of their sobriety. I shared some stories about people I have known who got into trouble with drugs, then turned their lives around. The message was: It's tough, but you can overcome addiction and achieve whatever else in life you set your mind to!

Jesse then showed some clips from Hotel Charlie while giving an insiders narrative about the places and rapids that were run in the film.

Giving the talk before the pool session

Once the film was over, we headed out to the pool and everyone picked out a boat and a paddle, and we started with the lesson. The job corp kids were really great, worked well as a team, and were stoked to learn about kayaking!

Jesse gives the initial orientation before getting into the pool.

Getting everyone used to the boats.

John's first few paddle strokes.. This sure is fun!

Overall the event was a big success. The Job Corp kids were enthusiastic and motivated, and had a great time. None of them had ever kayaked before, or been exposed to kayaking, so this was a great start for them. They also wanted us to take them on the river sometime, which was great because they are now motivated to take it to the next level. The Job Corp organizers also told us later that they were very pleased with the presentation and lesson, and look forward to having us back in the future.