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FOR Logo Friends of the River
 The voice of California's rivers

Become a River Advocate & Whitewater Guide


May 22-24, 29-31, & June 5-7 in Coloma-Lotus, Ca
9-Day Course for FOR Members $475

2015 BGT adWant to join the fight to help preserve and restore California’s rivers? Want to help in a fun and exciting way? A great way is to become a river guide for FOR’s River Volunteer Outreach Program. As a guide you will have the opportunity to learn first-hand about California's wild rivers, to get involved with the efforts to protect these wonderful waterways and to share your passion and knowledge with the public!

Our Basic Guide Training is a course for those who are both new to boating as well as private boaters who are looking to get involved with the community and help spread the word about the rivers we love. (now accepting applications for summer 2015 guide training link). NOTE - Our application deadline is extended to May 1st!

The Volunteer Outreach Program is supported by 200+ river activists and whitewater guides who are dedicated volunteers for Friends of the River. The Volunteer Outreach Program strives to enhance public awareness about rivers and water resources, to make river running accessible and enjoyable, and to raise money to support Friends of the River's statewide river conservation and water policy reform efforts.


 Volunteer Outreach Program River Advocate & Whitewater Guide Training

The Friends of the River Volunteer Outreach Program sponsors guide training at the basic and advanced levels. Basic training teaches you how to be a competent and safe Class III Whitewater Paddle Guide while teaching you to be an effective advocate and activist as well. Classes are conducted both on river and off. On shore classes include seminars on conservation issues, river hydraulics, safety and rescue information, trip organization, and much more. Our training program is performed at cost in order to be as affordable as possible.  In return, the Volunteer Outreach Program asks that you make a volunteer commitment to help save the majestic rivers of the California.

The fee for the guide training course for 2015 will be $475. Commercial companies charge up to $900 just for the raft guide training.  With FOR you will also get conservation-river advocacy training and learn about swift water rescue! This program is operated at a loss - your fees just cover our costs to run the whitewater training (i.e. food, camping, and required river user fees).

If you are interested in applying, please download and complete the application and email it to us as soon as possible - this class is expected to fill rapidly.

We plan to accept 10-15 candidates for the 2015 session and are only looking for conservation minded individuals who enjoy spending time outdoors and educating the public (previous rafting experience is not a requirement). We will notify applicants of our decision within three to four weeks of the application deadline. You must be a Friends of the River member to participate, so join today!



Guide Training for 2015!

May 22-24, 29-31 & June 5-7 (9 days over three consecutive weekends)

The Northern California training is on the South Fork American River (Lotus, CA; 45 minutes east of Sacramento, CA) and consists 9 days of the course of three weekends. Most guides need at least 9 days of training to become proficient and there will be opportunities for extended training to hone your skills.

Trainees are responsible for most of the daily routine that is typical for running raft trips. During training you can expect to be busy from early in the morning until late in the evening. Flexibility and a sense of humor are crucial during training, e.g., if water flows are uncommonly low on the South Fork, we may need to change our location or schedule.

You can help us as well by recruiting your friends!

$200 Deposit due with application by May 1st

Acceptance notification: May 8th

$275 Final payment due upon acceptance



  • BK Special BGT AdGood physical condition
  • Be a confident swimmer
  • Professional conduct when representing FOR on all occasions
  • CPR and First Aid Certification (must be acquired and be current before training begins)
  • Passion to save rivers and educate the public about these treasures
  • Fulfilment of volunteer service requierments



 Questions about Advanced Guide Training?

Advanced Guide TrainingAdvanced Trainings are usually held in late June. The Volunteer Outreach Program hopes you choose to participate in our program and become a rafting guide and river activist. You will meet great people and have a terrific time. Our growing program provides many opportunities for our guides and their friends. If you have any further questions, please email us or contact the FOR office: (916) 442-3155 extension 211 and ask for Johnnie Carlson.


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