2018   Spring Program   


Youth on Columbia's Spring Program will generally run Wednesday thriough Friday from Wednesday, May 2 through Friday, June 8, 2018. Over 1,000 elementary students from 12 North Central Washington schools will participate in the program. This is a great opportunity to volunteer your time and expertise in a worthy program. Contact Penny Tobiska for details. Watch this space for a link to the current schedule..

About 90 students will take part each school day during that time period. During the morning, half will tour the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, taking in exhibits and learning more about what the history of exploration in the area. The other half will undergo dry-land training before taking a trip in a 10-person Voyageur canoe in the river off Wenatchee Confluence State Park, with adults serving as guides. They also will enage themselves in educational stations at the park. In the afternoon, the students will switch and take part in the program's other half. Lunch will be served between the morning and afternoon sessions.

During the canoe-trip portion of the event, all students will wear life jackets and will be accompanied by a motorized safety boat. Part of their paddling will take them into the wildlife-rich estuary where the Wenatchee River flows into the Columbia. Parents are encouraged to come down to Wenatchee Confluence State Park to watch.

"The paddling experience is universal," says Selina Danko, museum education coordinator. "It doesn't matter what language you speak. It's just a matter of everyone working together as a group, getting from Point A to Point B. And it isn't whether they can. They have to. It's an important life lesson to learn."

The educational components at the state park will include Native American story telling, a look at what it was like to canoe in 1811, and a paddling station. Students also will get to see and smell a beaver pelt and the peppermint oil explorers used to settle upset stomachs.

At the museum, they will tour a fur trade exhibit and the center's acclaimed Native American exhibit.

"That part (of the program) will feature a live trap so we'll be running a few broom handles through it," Danko says.


Part II of Youth on the Columbia will unfold in the fall when another 300 students from East Wenatchee go through the program. They will visit exhibits to learn about the history of exploration and of native cultures. They will also canoe in the picturesque channels at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers, beginning in mid-September and running through mid-October