When Timm Zumm asked me to help out with the annual Canoe Race on the Lower Wisconsin River, my father's reaction summed up mine, too: “No fair you get to be out on the river all day AND count it as volunteer hours.” Admittedly, it was a pretty sweet deal.
My job was simple: don’t lose anyone and render assistance to any of the racers should a “situation” occur. I’m not much of a lifeguard, but luckily what I really had to do consisted of pressing a tally clicker, an unusually satisfying and highly "complicated" task. The weather was the best that the canoeists and I could have asked for, and the race itself went off without a hitch. However, we did end up having to use the safety boat, but not in the way that we originally anticipated.
Toward the latter half of the race we spotted four adults and a child waving to us from a nearby sandbar. As it turned out, their boat had broken down. So, even though we didn’t have to gallantly save anyone from the canoe race, we were able to help these folks get safely back to shore. Thus, I had fulfilled my life-saving quota for the day, although the real lessons from the experience were, as Timm would say, always thank the “spirits of the river” and know the difference between a friendly wave and “Help!”
By: Maya Rosemarie Jensen, Age 17
Once realizing I was able to get volunteer hours over the summer for college scholarships, I was instantly eager to get my hands on whatever was available. In all honesty I didn’t expect to have very much fun doing it, but I was proven wrong when I volunteered to help supervise the annual canoe race that takes place on the Lower Wisconsin River with Timm Zumm and Maya Jensen.
I myself had never had much experience with the river and was excited to hear that we would be riding in a boat and assisting whoever needed help during the race. When riding with Timm, I remember him saying how the river and the forest around look undisturbed and how it seems as if he is the first to explore this territory. I couldn’t agree more. It was surprising to see just how well-kept the river was, and the experience was great.
The day seemed to fly by on the river, and before I knew it I had been on the river for nearly six hours! Within those six hours I had learned a lot from Timm about how the river works: the most important being to “Go with the FLOW!”
By: Marcos Temozihui Ramos, Age 17