Chas Jones, Ph.D.

Paddling Adventure Expectations

We all have expectations of the experiences that we are planning to participate in. Often, when I organize a paddling adventure, I tend to serve as the trip leader.  When I serve as a trip leader, I have expectations of my guests. Similarly, those guests have expectations of me. This page is intended to clarify those expectations so that we can have a shared experience that comes close to meeting the expectations of everybody.  I learn something new with every paddling adventure, so you can expect this page to change over time.

After reading thing this list, I hope that you will communicate with me about any concerns that may arise. In some cases, we may be able to reconfigure our expectations based on our shared needs.  In some cases, we may decide that you would prefer to participate on a different trip than the one that I have planned.  These are better options that to have someone in a situation where they are uncomfortable or they do not have shared expectations with the rest of the group.

What do I believe are reasonable expectations of me as a trip leader?

  • I will not intentionally place you in a situation that I consider to be dangerous relative to your adventuring abilities;
  • I will communicate with you about potential hazards that I am aware of, when appropriate, warranted, and possible;
  • I will provide you with a list of clothing and gear that would keep most people comfortable on the adventure, under our expected conditions;
  • I will attempt to provide a realistic cost estimate for your portion of the shared experience, barring unforeseen circumstances;
  • I will make every effort so that you will not go hungry on my trips, however, you are unlikely to be fed until full at each meal;
  • I will make modest attempts to accommodate special diets, but if you have challenging dietary needs, you should plan to accomodate yourself unless I clearly express that this is unnecessary;
  • I will attempt to manage your expectations about the potential risks, fun, hazards, and excitement through email, shared videos, verbal, and written communications;
  • I may ask you to learn about certain aspects of the trip so that you are better informed;
  • I request that my guests avoid uninvited political, religious, or other controversial subjects on my trips.

What do I consider to be reasonable expectations of my guests? I expect the following:

  • You will participate fully during all aspects of my trips (preparation, loading, clean-up), unless I specifically state that your assistance is not necessary;
  • You will be aware of the group’s needs, in addition to your own;
  • You will plan appropriately (wake early if needed) so that you can take care of yourself, while leaving time to assist with group needs;
  • You will attempt to follow my instructions and guidance in all cases. If you have questions about my comments, you will ask;
  • You will attempt to enjoy the experience;
  • You will communicate with me (rather than the group), if an upsetting situation occurs, so that I can attempt to remedy the situation. If no remedy is possible, I may ask that you internalize your emotion or to let it go, if I perceive that the issue does not warrant being elevated;
  • You will not subdue the experience of other guests;
  • You will not undermine my trip leadership efforts;
  • You will clearly communicate health concerns, dietary restrictions, allergies, medication needs, etc. in a timely manner;
  • You will accurately description of skill-level, experience, comfort with unknown, triggers of anxiety, acceptable levels of camp cleanliness;
  • You are healthy and fit, unless you discuss otherwise with me;
  • You will take care of self and help with others, when needed;
  • You will assume that I and all guests act with good intentions at all times;
  • You will not hold group back or slow group down;
  • You will plan ahead and do what is necessary to accommodate group dynamics;
  • You will attempt not to inconvenience group to accommodate personal needs.