605 White Water Ride

Joel talks about a trip he took with his students down a wild river.

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Tom: I don't know what to do for my next holiday. Have you ever tried rafting?

Joel: Yeah, actually. I was a camp counselor one time for this high school program and we did a week long rafting trip in Utah. I can't remember the name of the river, but there was about 20 kids, and we carried all of our food and camping equipment on the raft, so we would pack, all the students would help pack up everything onto the rafts. We would go down the river for about three or four hours a day then we would stop at a camp stop. We would have to take all of the food, all of the camping equipment off and then the students would have different roles, so some students that day were in charge of cooking food for example, and they had prepared a menu, all the ingredients for that day. Other students were in charge of setting up all of the campground, you know, the tents. Other students were in charge of like building the fire.

Tom: Sounds like the students were doing a lot of work. What did you do?

Joel: We were organizing; making sure they were all on their roles.

Tom: Organizing!

Joel: Cracking the whip.

Tom: So you stayed in a different place each night.

Joel: Yeah, so we were, you know, camping. We had to carry every supply that we needed for an entire week and carry it all on the rafts.

Tom: Did anything go wrong?

Joel: Yeah, it got very cold for a few days, and a couple of students, actually, we went through rapids, so I don't know, do you call it the same (yeah) in British English? It's exciting but it was a very cold day and it's very rough so a few students fell in.

Tom: What happened?

Joel: It's very dangerous. You know, everyone wears a life vest, so I think they were all able to swim anyway, but you have to wear a life vest, and they teach you to try to face your feet down stream because there are many rocks and things like that.

Tom: Oh, so you don't hit your..

Joel: That's right. If you're going head first, then you could, the water's moving quickly so you could hit a rock or something, so you try to go feet first, and then, everyone has a paddle, so we try to paddle the raft over to them as quickly as we can, pull them back in, but you know, we're still maybe an hour and a half from where we are camping so being completely wet like that, you know, you're so cold until we get back.

Tom: It sounds like an incredible holiday. Did anyone take a camera?

Joel: Oh, of course. There's tons of pictures on it, but what I find most about trips like that, like sometimes when you're so cold and everything like that. You feel terrible. You feel miserable, but it's such a group experience, like you really get close to everyone, and you feel like, you feel so much closer to everyone after you've gone through a challenging experience like that.

Tom: To have to pull your friend out of the water.

Joel: That's right.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

camp counselor

I was a camp counselor one time for a high school program.

A 'camp counselor' is a leader for children at a camp. the counselor is usually in charge of leading activities and caring for the children. Notice the following:

  1. Our camp counselor teaches us a new camp song every week.
  2. She was a camp counselor for three years when she was younger.

pack up

The students helped pack up everything onto the raft.

When you 'pack everything up,' you put the things that you need into something that will be used to transport them, in this case a raft for the river. If you are going on a car trip, before you leave, you have to pack up everything you need in the car. Notice the following:

  1. We hired movers to pack up all our furniture.
  2. I'm just going to pack up the car, and then I'll be on my way.

different roles

The students had different roles, such as cooking, setting up tents, and building the fire.

Here, 'different roles' refers to different responsibilities that each student has. Notice the following:

  1. The teacher assigns different roles for students in class every week.
  2. All of my friends play different roles in our friend group.

in charge of

The students who were in charge of cooking prepared all the ingredients for that day.

If you are 'in charge of' something, you are responsible for it. Notice the following:

  1. Do you know who is in charge of public relations here?
  2. We are in charge of bringing dessert to the party.

tons of

We had so much fun and tons of pictures of that day.

'Tons of pictures' is the same as saying a lot of pictures. Notice the following:

  1. We have tons of different art supplies.
  2. I have tons of things to do this weekend and don't know if I'll have time to finish everything.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
counselor • pack up • roles
in charge • tons
  1. The same actor played a number of different in the movie.
  2. The best part of being a camp is getting to be outside all day.
  3. Let me a few sandwiches for you to take with you on your trip.
  4. Who is of planning the party this weekend.
  5. We are going to need of ice to keep all this soda cold.