The staff was nothing short of amazing. There's good management, and then there's good leadership. Somewhere over the past six months the Canoecopia team went from competent, excellent managers to more than competent, excellent leaders. The team leaders all did yeoman's service and despite the occasional miscue, Canoecopia went off without a major hitch. Small, occasional cuts needed band-aids, but no sucking chest wounds.
Three days of solid on-your-feet work can suck the life out of you, but what puts life back is the thousands of people who love Canoecopia, and apparently, judging by the strangers who hugged me and said "thanks for doing this," some of 'em love me too. There were more families this year than in previous years, and the folks from the Forest Service did a great job with kids, offering coloring books and of course, a staple of all outreach programs, face painting. Wolf paws, rabbit tracks, and a host of other natural themes were liberally applied to young (and not-so-young) faces.
My new friend Samantha is ten. I ran into her and her family looking at kayaks, and they looked a little lost. I spent a good hour with Sammy and her parents and we had a great time shopping for the right boats for them. Wonderful folks, and they raised a very polite and enjoyable young lady.
Best part of the show...I got to hang out with Smokey. Only you can prevent forest fires, unless there's a lightning strike, at which point you're pretty much not able to prevent anything. It happens. Smokey is in denial, but he's mostly concered with human-started fires. We'll leave the lightning alone for now.