Texas River School is Now Hiring!

Earn $3,000-$5,000 by leading 32 Canoeing/Kayaking trips this summer


Position: Trip Leader  

Available: Immediately thru October

To Apply: Email your letter of interest to graham@texasriverschool.org


Job Summary

The Trip Leader will be responsible for leading (and organizing) river trips for groups of 25-30 youth on Lady Bird Lake and Barton Creek. Trips are funded from a grant received from TPWD. Currently, we have funding for 32 river trips. This would be an ideal position for a college student or retired schoolteacher. Trips can also be team shared with another trip leader.


Responsibilities and Duties

  • Manages all aspects of four river trip programs: River Sense, Discover the Source, Find and Capture, and Canoe Camping.
  • Oversees river trips from start to finish.
  • Works with the Assistant Executive Director in the planning and organizing of all trips.



  • Flexible schedule preferred
  • Enjoys working with youth
  • Excellent references


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Demonstrates personal alignment with the mission of Texas River School
  • Thrives in an outdoor environment
  • Experienced paddler
  • Certified in First Aid/CPR and basic water safety a plus



  • Competitive shift pay (per trip)
  • Fees for any training classes


Physical Demands

  • Stamina for paddling long distances, potentially in strong winds
  • Able to lift/carry canoes or kayaks


About Texas River School

Texas River School teaches young people to love, protect, and safely enjoy Texas waterways through hands-on educational outings that include canoeing and camping.

We practice our motto – Helping to Keep Our Kids and Rivers Healthy – by continually working toward reducing the nature deficit in area youth through our river trip programs. Incorporated into these half-day, day-long, and overnight excursions are tools we use to inspire, educate, and nurture students’ experiences and imagination, such as environmental education, camping, canoeing, kayaking, orienteering/geocaching, nature photography, open-water swimming, and much more.


We have good reason to be excited! Several wonderful things took place at our July 19 Board Meeting that we want to share.

Executive Director and Founder, Joe Kendall, announced that he plans to semi-retire in the next three years. The process of turning over operations of the foundation to the next generation of river lovers has begun. Anna Castillo, Office/River School Manager who has been with TRS for the last three years, was promoted to Assistant Executive Director of The Chautauqua Foundation, Inc., and Amber Davis, TRS Trip Leader for the past two years, was promoted to Director of the River School. Congratulations Anna and Amber, the A-Team!

We are also VERY excited to announce the addition of two new members to our Board of Directors, Brandon Cox and Kathleen Davies.

Brandon Cox first discovered Texas River School through his participation in Amplify Austin (he’s the one who won the kayak auctioned off at our Amplify Austin Party this past spring). Brandon spent quite a bit of time on Texas Rivers as a child and quickly connected with the TRS mission. Brandon moved to Austin in 1998 after graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in Family Financial Planning, and has worked in the financial services industry ever since. He is co-founder of Cox & Kor Wealth Management, independent financial advisors, and has been an active participant in Austin’s non-profit community through contributions, volunteer work and board membership. Brandon also enjoys collecting antique and rare books, the performing arts, and participating in cooking competitions (he’s done chili cook-offs and a couple of goat cook-offs). Welcome Brandon!

Kathleen Davies has been a long-time friend of the River School, even back when it was in its incubation stages, but was unable to get more involved at the time. She did, however, manage to get TRS a $2,000 donation from the Elks a few years back then surprised us again at the July 19 meeting with another check from The High Road on Dawson Charity (story below). Kathleen is currently employed with Texas Education Agency in their Educator Investigations Division, part of a career that has spanned over 25 years with enforcement in Texas, protecting children and citizens. Welcome Kathleen!

Referred to above, Kathleen Davies presented Executive Director Joe Kendall and Board President Linda Overton-Kendall with a $3,500 check from The High Road on Dawson Charity. This gift was totally unexpected, and we are so very grateful to High Road Charity for their generous contribution!!!

Kathleen Davies presenting check from High Road Charities.

Kathleen Davies presenting check from High Road Charities.


Folks, we are sorry to say that our June 18 Moonlight Bat Float has to be cancelled due to high waters on LBL. As of today, Friday, June 17, the river is running at 6,354 cfs…normal flow is 600 cfs…a challenge going upstream even for seasoned paddlers, which is what we have to do to get back to the docks of Texas Rowing Center. We fully anticipate the waters will recede well before the July 16 Bat Float, so mark your calendars now and purchase your tickets online…everyone will be ready to get out on the water by then.

British International School of Houston Floats our Boats

BISH, or British International School of Houston, floated the Lower Colorado River in early December outfitted by Texas River School (TRS). Seventeen students and three instructors took float on a 4-day 3-night adventure to prepare for a final excursion as part of their curriculum titled the Gold International Duke of Edinburgh Award and Expedition. The group consisted of mostly international students and teachers that hailed from such countries as United Kingdom, Pakistan, Germany, France, Scotland, Italy, and the U.S.

Guided by TRS trip leader Spider De Victoria, the group put-in on Wednesday, December 2nd under the Montopolis Street Bridge in the warmth of the afternoon sun. Their first night was spent at Texas River School’s River Camp, 5-miles south of Austin, with successive nights spent on sandy bars on the river. While two students had to drop out the first day due to illness, the remaining 15 students had a great trip with many learning experiences. When asked by Joe Kendall if they would do it again, they all responded positively.


The trip ended on Saturday, December 5th at Big Webberville Park, where all 10 canoes were unloaded and cleaned before boarding the bus back to Houston. All in all, a successful trip for both BISH and TRS; we hope to see them again.


Texas River School and Executive Director Joe Kendall were recognized on Monday, November 23, 2015, as SBCA’s Partner of the Year at the 36th Annual Save Barton Creek Association Awards Banquet. Olivia Hayden, Director of Development & Community Relations for SBCA, presented the award.

Recognition stemmed from the partnership Texas River School has had with SBCA over the last six years as recipient of the Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) Grant. “This has been the necessary seed capital and one of the few unrestricted grants that provides us with the funds to actually go out and write grants,” Joe stated. “This partnership will gIMG_0935row because of new grant opportunities and the young people on our staff.”

Joe continued by saying, “I cut my teeth with SBCA. You were the first environmental organization I was associated with, and I want to thank all of you who went to the meetings every Monday night and to council meetings on Thursday nights, you all did the hard work. I found my niche in outfitting trips, and with the help of Wayne Gronquist I started doing trips and became SBCA’s outfitter, something I want to continue doing in the future.”

On-hand to help accept the award was the TRS staff and several members of the Board of Directors. Joe took particular pride in introducing his younger staff who “are a serious, enthusiastic, experienced group of young people ready to take over the program.” Congratulations Joe Kendall and Texas River School.


Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant Awarded to Texas River School

tpwdThe Texas Parks and Wildlife has just awarded a $38,000 grant to the Texas River School for Project PADDLE!

The Colorado River, an environmental resource underutilized by Austin area school children, becomes an exciting and exceptional outdoor classroom when made accessible through the cooperation and the canoes of the Texas River School.

By providing infrastructure, canoeing equipment, training and mentored outdoor experiences to underserved and at-risk youth in Central Texas, The Texas River School’s Project PADDLE creates opportunities for improving academic performance and appropriate social behaviors for students attending Austin Independent School District elementary schools. 

We teach specific skills in a proven manner: environmental awareness, cooperation, physical movement, team building, respect for natural resources, water bird and animal habitat identification, personal safety and project completion. And we have fun: canoeing, open swimming, underwater photography, orienteering/geocaching, camping and appreciation of the power of a song are some of the skills students develop in our curriculum.

Our Project PADDLE classes coincide with AISD school semesters and are offered in the seasons of early Fall and late Spring.

Project PADDLE places kids in canoeing education courses on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail as well as the Colorado River. Our classes are designed specifically for a variety of ages and experience levels:  

  • “River Sense” on Lady Bird Lake provides basic canoeing education with river safety education; 
  • “Discover the Source” combines the attributes of our River Sense program while instilling environmental awareness through an appreciation and discovery of the source of of Barton Springs; 
  • “Canoe Camping” on the Colorado River is offered to “River Sense” students who exhibit a willingness to serve the environmental good through participation in COOP Service Project;
  • TRS COOP Service Project:  students learn the values of biodiversity by identifying and remove invasive plant species along the Colorado River adjacent to the Texas River School’s River Camp. Students replace invasive plants with plants native to the Texas environment.

The Texas River School is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization. Along with the Austin Independent School District (AISD), Project Paddle is produced in cooperation and through the generosity of The Texas Rowing Center providing Lady Bird Lake access and donating canoes for classes, Austin songwriter and performer Bill Oliver, as well as many in-kind and generous donations from people and businesses of the Austin, Texas community.

Moonlight Bat Float

Here are some wonderful pictures from our Moonlight Bat Float on July 12th, 2014. Click on any photo to see a larger image. We hope these inspire you to join us for our next Moonlight Bat float on Saturday, August 9th.  Click here to reserve your canoe today!

River Sense Class with Sanchez Elementary School

Sanchez Elementary School

Students from Sanchez Elementary School arrive at Lady Bird Lake for River Sense Class.

On May 19th, students from Austin Independent School District’s Sanchez Elementary School arrived at Lady Bird Lake to participate in Texas River School’s River Sense Class. All students had studied “River Sense” and had taken a fun quiz on the Texas River School’s website to test our knowledge of the the 12 River Sensibles.

We put on our personal flotation devices (life jackets) and carried our ice chests to the dock of the Texas Rowing Center.

Students from Sanchez Elementary

Students practice their paddling strokes on the dock of the Texas Rowing Center.

We learned how to get in and out of canoes. We learned many paddling strokes: forward stroke, backward stroke, C-strokes and J-strokes. And we learned how to stop.

Lunch in canoes on Ladybird Lake

Sanchez Elementary School students each lunch in canoes on Lady Bird Lake.

Paddling west on Lady Bird Lake, we visited a small cove where we saw a Great Blue Heron walking in the water. We also saw many turtles and a beautiful white swan. We worked up quite an appetite paddling on that windy morning, so we gathered the canoes together, opened up our ice chests and ate a healthy lunch.

After lunch, we paddled back to the dock and safely got out of our canoes thanks to our teachers and the staff of the Texas River School.

River Yogis on the Colorado

Colorado River at the TRS River Camp

Friday, May 30 – Saturday, May 31st – Sunday, June 1st

Are you a certified Yoga instructor?

Does teaching Yoga in a canoe appeal to you – take your students out of the studio on a Yoga field trip – to become one with the river?

Would you like to receive additional income by hosting River Yoga on the Colorado downriver trips?

If so, then you are cordially invited to experience the joy of becoming one with the river as we travel 4 miles down the Colorado River from Austin’s east side to the Texas River School’s River Camp.

Join us – free of charge – over the weekend of May 30th to June 1st. There are 3 different trips to choose from when you sign up below.

Texas River School, an Austin based nonprofit that benefits at-risk youth in Central Texas, is launching a new program in June – River Yoga on the Colorado.

We are offering a weekend of free River Yoga on the Colorado trips to Austin based Yoga instructors and Yoga Studios.  Our River Yogi Orientation provides an opportunity for you to see if partnering up with the Texas River School is right for you.

Hosting River Yoga on the Colorado downriver trips raises money for Texas River School and provides an additional source of income for Yoga instructors and their Studios.

Our weekend retreat of downriver trips for River Yogis is hosted by Joe Kendall, Executive Director of the Texas River School, and Austin musician and member of the Board of Directors, Barbara K.  We’ll teach you the J-Stroke – the key to becoming ‘one with the river’ – and share ideas and perspectives about Yoga, breathing techniques and meditation. Potluck cookouts, campfires and live music included. Please join us.

We encourage you to invite a fellow Yoga instructor who may be interested in co-hosting a River Yoga on the Colorado downriver trip with to come along.

Sign up for your choice of a downriver trip.

Thanks. We’ll see you on the river.

[gravityform id=”107″ name=”River Yogi Magic Hour – Friday, May 30th, 6:00 pm”][gravityform id=”110″ name=”River Yogi Morning Flow – Saturday, May 31st, 9:00 am”][gravityform id=”108″ name=”River Yogi Magic Hour – Saturday, May 31st, 6:00 pm”]

For more information, please contact Barbara K, bk@sparrowswheel.com, 512-436-6530.

Eeyore’s 51st Birthday Party Volunteers

Dear Friends of Texas River School,

Eeyore’s 51st Birthday Party is just a month away and it’s time to start rounding up our volunteers for the Texas River School (TRS) Chicken Fajita food tent!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 26th, and plan to be a part of our fun crew at Pease Park.

TRS has been participating in this event for over 15 years.  It’s our longest standing FUNdraiser where we really get into the spirit of Keeping Austin Weird while raising money for Texas River School programs.

Texas River School Volunteers as Eeyore's Birthday Party

Texas River School Volunteers as Eeyore’s Birthday Party

About 40-50 volunteers are needed to help cook, roll, and sell nearly 1800 of our fabulous chicken fajitas to hundreds of hungry party-goers.  We have several 2-hour shifts to choose from, beginning at 10am and ending at 8pm, or until we’re all cleaned up and packed.

Texas River School Volunteers as Eeyore's Birthday Party

Texas River School Volunteers as Eeyore’s Birthday Party

Pease Park is located at N. Lamar & 15th Streets.  For directions, and to learn more about the event, click here.  The rain date for Eeyore’s is Saturday, May 3rd, so let me know if you are available that date, as well.

Texas River School Volunteers as Eeyore's Birthday Party

Texas River School Volunteers as Eeyore’s Birthday Party

Plan to be there – volunteer a few hours, play a few hours, get your face painted, see dazzling costumes, wear a dazzling costume, enjoy live music, eat good food, join the drum circles.  It’s a bucket-list must do!

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Linda Overton – Volunteer Coordinator
Joe Kendall – Executive Director

Contact information:

Photos by Memphis Hank Jones, III