Team River Runner-Shepherd (TRR-S) volunteers will attend national training conferences in New Mexico and Colorado in the next two months.
Megan Hibner will kayak the San Juan River in Utah in the Team River Runner All Women's Clinic May 19-23. She is looking forward to improving her kayaking and teaching skills.
"I enjoy the challenge of paddling a new river, and I cannot wait to paddle with a group of TRR veterans from around the country," she said. "I am looking forward to practicing leading others down the river and developing skills that will help me instruct our veterans here at Shepherd TRR."
Hibner is from Ona and received her bachelor of arts in family and consumer sciences and her master of arts in teaching from Shepherd.
Ben Gunn, a Regents bachelor of arts senior and Army veteran from Martinsburg who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, will participate in the Colorado ACA Instructor's Clinic on the rivers and lakes in the Glenwood Springs area June 22-28. The clinic will improve paddling, leadership, and teaching skills and is focused on achieving ACA level 3 or 4 kayaking instructor certification.
Gunn said he wants to go to the clinic to learn more about the sport so he can be more of a help to the veterans in the community and wants to help expand the TRR-Shepherd chapter.
"I love seeing the smiles that Team River Runner helps to bring to our veterans' faces," he said. "To see a miracle take place right in front of me every day is absolutely amazing and very addicting."
In addition, nine chapter members, both veterans and volunteers, earned their Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED certification through a class sponsored by Team River Runner in April. The Shepherd University Wellness Center (SUWC) donated the class space just as it does its facilities for the weekly TRR-Shepherd training sessions. Nick Mummert, aquatics coordinator at the SUWC, donated his instruction.
"In our second year of operation, we are focusing on developing skills and leadership in our veterans and volunteers to make our chapter even more effective. This focus is perfectly consistent with our host institution's mission to educate, prepare, and develop leaders for theregion and the nation," said Tracy Seffers, registrar at Shepherd and chapter secretary. "We are so grateful for the generous support, both within and outside Shepherd University, thatmakes Team River Runner-Shepherd such a dynamic and effective way of serving those who have served."
TRR-Shepherd was established in April 2013. It teaches recreational and adaptive kayaking to veterans from the Martinsburg VA Medical Center and the community in the SUWC pool and then on the open water in an effort to find health and healing. Weekly training sessions are Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. with monthly outings in open water weather permitting.
For more information about participating, volunteering, or fundraising, contact Seffers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-876-5463 or go to www.teamriverrunner.org or www.facebook.com/teamriverrunner-shepherd.