Passing The Paddle

After 27 years of taking Austin kids out on the river, Joe Kendall retires as the Executive Director of Texas River School. Joe founded Texas River School, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, in 1992 with the intention of sharing his love and knowledge of the river by combining outdoor education and canoeing skills with healthy nutritional reinforcement. Texas River School strives to connect children with nature, and abide by their motto: “Helping to keep our kids and rivers healthy!”

Under Joe’s guidance, Texas River School has conducted over 400 canoe trips and taken nearly 12,000 area youth on the river to experience canoeing, swimming, snorkeling, camping, and much more. The River School works with kids from all backgrounds, but the focus has always been on underserved youth who face challenges or lack the opportunity to experience Austin’s wonderful natural resources.

Joe has been more than instrumental in Texas River School programs – he is the reason for them. With a passion for experiential learning versus being “taught” in a classroom, Joe has been the catalyst for the River School’s success – from putting in long hours and days on the rivers and in the classroom to providing expertise and gear for trips, he has been involved with every aspect of the organization.

When asked about his success with the school, Joe was quick to pass the credit saying, “Over the years the Austin community has really stepped up and shown how much they value nature and how important it is to pass along this appreciation to community kids. That’s where our success has come from.” He’s right. The Austin community has supported Texas River School, but the driving force has always been Joe.

Although Joe may not admit it, he is a people person. He has really connected with the Austin community by building strong relationships with local schools, other non-profits, local businesses, and hundreds of individuals. With his quiet, kind demeanor, Joe has helped these groups realize their shared goals and values and the importance of passing these traits on to future generations.

Over the past couple of years, Joe has worked to prepare the organization for his retirement. With the help of Texas River School’s old guard, Joe has connected with a new generation of board members and staff in the same way he has connected with the Austin community. In keeping with this momentum, the baton will now be passed to incoming Executive Director Graham Daly of San Marcos, Texas. Under Graham’s direction, Texas River School looks forward to getting even more Austin youth on the river!

Texas River School will be celebrating Joe’s accomplishments and retirement at their annual Amplify Austin Party on Thursday, February 28th at The High Road On Dawson, 700 Dawson Road, 78704, from 5:30 to 9:00 PM. The community is invited to join the party. Enjoy hot food and cold drinks, meet the new Director, and dance to live music by The Jitterbug Vipers. It’s sure to be a good time!

For more information:
Graham Daly
Executive Director
Texas River School 512.947.5658