It all started with the 2011 celebration of Canadian explorer David Thompson's 1811 canoe trip down the Columbia River. The David Thompson Brigade, paddling more than a dozen big Voyageur canoes, re-enacted Thompson's historic exploration with stops at numerous communities along the way.

One of those visits was to Wenatchee. When Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club and Wenatche Valley Museum & Cultural Center officials learned of the trip months in advance, they decided to organize an awareness campaign in the community. Before long, plans were in place to teach school children about David Thompson and to experience first-hand what it's like to canoe on the Columbia.

Thompson traveled down the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean in 1811. On his return, he explored the one remaining part of the river he had not seen, and in so doing became the first European-American to travel the river's entire length.

Students soaked it up.

"We could see the results in that first year (2011)," says Selina Danko, museum education coordinator. "We could see the kids were engaging in what they were learning.

"It allowed all of them to learn about David Thompson."

In November of 2011, the Club purchased two of the Voyageur canoes that had participated in the bicentennial celebration of the Thompson Party's journey down the Columbia. The Koo Koo Sint was retired in 2016. The Paddle Song continues to serve,