Information for Volunteers

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The Wonders of the Wabash (WOW) program is part of STEM education. September is a great month to have this program, it’s early enough to where the teachers can use what the children have learned and expand upon it. Or, in some cases, the program is an expansion of what they have been studying.

Before this excursion, the TCPWQ Educator will have visited each school participating in Wonders on the Wabash. The educator will have explained to students and teachers what their day on the water entails. All the students will have preformed a pre-test for this trip. All the students, parents, and teachers will be aware of what the students will be learning about and tested on, and what to bring for the day. Students will be aware that they will be competing against other rafts for high test scores. This is not a race of paddling the fastest. Prizes will be awarded to the raft with the highest test scores.

Background Check (REQUIRED)

There will be no cost to you for the background check, which will be processed by the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department. This form will need to be completed, submitted, and passed before you will be allowed to volunteer. The background form is found here.

Your completed form will need to be mailed or delivered in-person to 20 N Third Street, Lafayette, IN 47901 or scanned and emailed to mchristopher@tippecanoe.in.gov. Thank you for your willingness to volunteer. We look forward to seeing you on the water!

Getting Ready…

Your day will begin when you arrive at Fort Ouiatenon, located at 3136 S River Road, West Lafayette, IN 47906, between 8 AM and 8:30 AM to park your vehicle for the day. You will be shuttled from Fort Ouiatenon to Tapawingo Park, located at 100 Tapawingo Dr, West Lafayette, IN 47906.

Please seek out the TCPWQ Educator when you arrive you at Tapawingo Park via the shuttle. The educator will provide you with your group number, your adult rafting partner, and a clear plastic baggie containing the following items:

  • a whistle

  • colored wristbands for you and your students

  • On-the-River information (cheat-sheet) to help you cover the topics your students will be tested on. Raft instructors are not allowed to help students with their tests.

  • one spiral notebook for your students to take notes

  • two ink pens

  • hand wipes

Your raft will also be equipped with one large dry bag. There will be bottled water and Goldfish crackers inside the bag for a snack at the first island. This bag is large enough to fit jackets that the students may have brought. A separate clothes basket with your group number on it will be used to store extra clothing brought by the students in case they get wet. The basket will be shuttled to the fort by the land crew.

Once all volunteers have arrived, there will be a morning meeting regarding weather updates, agenda updates, approximately how many students there will be, any medical or special needs we need to be aware of, and to answer any questions and/or concerns you may have about the day.

This will be your last opportunity to use a restroom until we get to Fort Ouiatenon!!

As a raft instructor, your responsibilities will be arming your students with the information that will be on the On-the-River test. You will receive this information via email before your day on the water to give you ample time to review. You will also receive and email containing talking point suggestions while you’re on your raft. Other raft instructor responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the safety of the students in your raft at all times

  • Making sure your students adhere to the rules at all times

  • Staying with your students at all times

  • Please do not help students with their tests

  • Keeping your raft on schedule

Buses will begin arriving between 9:00 and 9:30. When the students arrive, a land crew person will number the students’ hands as they exit the bus. They will be directed to find the adult with the number that matches their number. Once you have all your students, introduce yourself, then send students to get a paddle, and a life jacket. If you have a few minutes before morning announcements, please take a moment to get to know one another, go over how to paddle, and assign a person to take notes. They will be allowed to use their notes during testing.

Morning Announcements:  Once everyone has their life jackets and paddles, everyone will gather at the shelter area for morning announcements. Students and teachers will be welcomed, rules will be covered, there will be a quick explanation of how to hold a paddle, and any questions and/or concerns will be addressed.

Launch: After morning announcements and last restroom call, we will launch. Students—equipped with life jackets and paddles—will walk down to the launching area where all the rafts have been prepared.

Please be prepared to have wet feet and possibly wet clothing. You may get wet. We strongly suggest you wear old closed-toe shoes, water shoes, or Keens. Please do not wear Crocs or water socks. We suggest bringing a change of clothes and foot wear.

Our Route

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Arriving at Fort Ouiatenon

Once rafts have reached the boat ramp at the Fort, you and your students will be responsible for carrying your raft up to the grassy area.

  • Life jackets will need to be spread out on the grass to dry

  • Paddles will be placed in a pile near the bins

  • You and your students will head to the shelter. Tables will be marked with your raft number.

  • Please stay with your students

  • If we were unable to stop at Lafayette Renew for a session, the session and test will take place BEFORE lunch.

  • Lunch will be announced and groups will be dismissed in an orderly manner. Please keep your students at your table until dismissed

  • While your students are waiting their turn take advantage of this opportunity to have table conversations with your group! Ask them questions! Kids love to share stories, find out what they liked about their day on the water

  • The winning raft will be announced and prizes will be awarded to students in the raft with the highest test scores

You are strongly encouraged you to bring…

We suggest you bring the following items:

  • A change of clothing—you may get WET!

  • A towel

  • A pair of dry shoes

  • Please leave all your extras in your vehicle that is parked at the fort

Safety Information

In the event of an emergency while on the water, Emergency Personnel will be present in a motorized safety boat. They will have a first aid kit and will be able to assist.

The trip will only be canceled in the event of severe weather or dangerously high water levels. If the day is canceled, you will be notified via text. Unfortunately, if we do have to cancel, we cannot make up that day.

Questions and Concerns

Please feel free to contact the Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality (TCPWQ) with any questions and/or concerns you may have at 765-423-9228 or email Monica Christopher at mchristopher@tippecanoe.in.gov