Peak 7 hosts Next Door

One of four rafts filled with youth and their mentors from The Next Door cascades down Oak Springs, a class four rapid on the Lower Deschutes River.

Peak 7 Adventures, a faith-based non-profit which provides outdoor adventures to marginalized young people, hosted The Next Door program participants for whitewater rafting on Saturday, Aug. 27 on the Deschutes River in Maupin. The group of 24 participants, mostly youth and their mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge, was ushered through rapids such as Devil’s Hole, Boxcar, and Oak Springs by Peak 7’s expert rafting guides.

For most Little Brothers and Little Sisters in attendance, the trip was their first opportunity to experience whitewater rafting. Fifteen-year-old Jacob’s raft high-centered on a rock while surging through Oak Springs. It was a tense several minutes that required teamwork by the entire raft, and even assistance from another raft, to get out of the sticky situation. But Jacob was fearless, even saying afterward that getting stuck on the rock was his favorite part of the day. The ability to learn life skills and collaboration, while building confidence, are central goals of The Next Door’s youth mentoring programs.

The Next Door, a social services non-profit, has been serving children and families in the Gorge for 45 years. Services include health promotion, economic development, and family and youth services, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge.

To learn more, make a donation, or apply to be a volunteer, visit www.next-doorinc.org.

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