Marketing Interns Do Guide Training

3 Different Perspectives of Interns Completing Guide Training: How we ended up here and how we overcame our obstacles.

  • 8 days
  • 2 rivers
  • 2000 stairs
  • 1 soggy wetsuit
  • 12 Clif bars
  • 4 pounds of trail mix
  • 15 PB&J’s
  • 1,000,000 mosquitos
  • 1 mission: become a Maine River Guide

From the Perspective of:

Dom L, Mia P, & Christian S: Marketing Interns Summer 2021


My 300-mile journey to The Forks, Maine was made possible after accepting a Marketing Internship position for Three Rivers Whitewater. Prior to my arrival, I contemplated what my job would entail as a marketing intern for a whitewater rafting outfitter in Maine. I knew I would be focusing on social media and copywriting, but something much more exciting was on my horizon. At Three Rivers Whitewater, all of the employees are encouraged to partake in an 8 day River Guide Training with the goal of receiving certification to guide river trips down the Kennebec River. This training program requires prospective guides to complete at least 20 runs (trips down the Upper Kennebec River Gorge) as well as guide rafts for at least 5 of those runs. Before The Forks, I had no whitewater experience. I had never even worn a wetsuit or been on a whitewater rafting trip. Needless to say, my nerves were vibrating at an all-new wavelength. I consider myself an active person, I enjoy the outdoors and intentionally expanding my comfort zone, I thought the training would be tough, but I assumed I was tougher.

Guide Training

During our first training event, a manicotti dinner at Boatman’s Bar & Grill, I swapped stories with the other dozen trainees. All of us came to The Forks to pursue the prestigious Maine Guide Certification, but each of us had different reasons as to why. With hundreds of carbs in my system, I slept in my tent that night with cautious optimism. I remembered the words of Joe Christopher, owner of Three Rivers Whitewater, “The bigger the sacrifice, the bigger the reward.” Those words resonated deeply with me as I dozed off with an alarm set for 5:30 AM.

The morning was grey, I woke to a soundtrack of songbirds, bugs, a light breeze, logging trucks barreling up and down Route 201, and aGuns & Roses hit to snap me out of sleep. I had all of my stuff laid out the night before, so my morning routine started strong. As I had no prior whitewater experience, I had no clue what to wear. The legends of the Kennebec stressed wearing dry-fit material and no cotton beneath the neoprene wetsuit. My gear was damp and cold but after a bit of awkward pulling and squirming, my wetsuit was on, booties and all. I grabbed my paddle, helmet, and PFD (Personal Floatation Device, or lifejacket) strapped them to my backpack prepped with granola bars, a chocolate-heavy trail mix, and two massive water bottles among other miscellaneous camping gear, and set off for my first day.

The sun poked through and began to burn away the morning mist that settled over Somerset county. I gathered with the rest of our team and we began the morning the same way we would begin every morning, 30 minutes of deep stretching and prepping the Three Rivers school bus with the necessary gear for the day. My mind was open and I felt the sensation of butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous, no doubt, I pictured our raft being pounded with huge swells of whitewater. My imagination was not far off, after our safety briefing and seating position spiel we were on the river in no time at all. 


My story and journey of coming to up to The Forks to work for Three Rivers Whitewater was a bit different. As an avid outdoors enthusiast, adrenaline junky and extreme sports lover, accepting an internship for Three Rivers was a no-brainer. It would have opened doors to an opportunity where I could combine my passion for outdoor activities and my profession of marketing. I quickly hopped on board and accepted the internship in the spring with a lot to look forward to in the coming summer. It wasn’t until the passing of my friend who got into a paragliding accident that shook my world. He was one of my close friends who introduced me to surfing and photography. It worried me to think that I would be spending a lot of my summer whitewater rafting. My parents started to talk me out of coming. But as time went on I started to think about the kind of life that my friend lived. He followed his heart and did what made him happy, he inspired me to live life without fear.

So,Guide Training I decided to not let fear get in the way of my desires to continuously pursue new things that pushed me beyond my limits. Despite my lack of skill in swimming and fear of water, I said “bring on the challenge” and so I packed my car and took off to Maine for the next 3 months. With the beautiful scenery of Maine, ridiculous whitewater rafting and car camping, it started to become a summer that if I didn’t come I would have regretted the opportunity as it is the experience of a lifetime. Becoming a Guide is one of the most rewarding things I have ever completed, I had no idea that I could push myself that far both physically and mentally.

During the 8 day training program we lived and breathed whitewater. You would think after a few days, spending over 8 hours on the water each day, you would get comfortable with the whole swimming thing, but not me. Swimming whitewater still scares me a lot and it’s a healthy fear. Thankfully training is set up to slowly incorporate swimming so that you can slowly build up your skills in swimming whitewater. They first prepared us in the classroom with some techniques in swimming whitewater. They break it down into the essentials. First, the most important part is pulling yourself in the boat, once you master that most people would say the hardest part is over, but that wasn’t the  case for me. Next thing they taught us was how to passively swim in swimmers rapid, floating on your back with your nose and toes up. So, they demonstrated it to us and before you know it you’re the one in the water swimming. What was really the challenge for me, that pushed me the most, in this whole training was having to swim a section of class IV rapids. Nerves were flooding my head the night before, I don’t even know how I fell asleep that night but the next morning I hopped out of my car ran to the bus and we were on the dam road headed to the river to conquer my biggest fear. With the support from my fellow trainees and guide trainers I completed one of the biggest challenges I had to face till this day. I swam through and made it out to the other side, and two days later I passed guide training and became a certified level 1 Maine Guide for whitewater, one of my greatest accomplishments in life!


Sitting in my college dorm, browsing the internet for a summer internship, coming across office job after office job, dreading what my summer was going to look like until I found it… Marketing Internship, Three Rivers Whitewater, West Forks ME. The description: “You will not just be sitting at a desk!” I was hooked. After completing my resume, interviewing and eagerly waiting to hear back, I finally received an email asking if I could speak over the phone. I thought to myself, that had to be a good sign. Turns out it was a great sign! I was ecstatic when I was given the opportunity for the position as a marketing intern but little did I know there was an even more rewarding opportunity coming at me. The opportunity to challenge myself physically and mentally at Maine River Guide Training. Guide Training

I never knew it was possible to be so nervous and excited at the same time. Information, terminology and geography flying at me faster than the mosquitoes could bite me. “Who’s Eddy?” “Where’s Maytag?” “Goodbye-what?” I didn’t think there was any possible way I could remember it all and then while my brain was still trying to map out where Maytag is I ran into my first and biggest hurdle of the week. “Out and in trainees.” I took a look around and to see my fellow trainees jumping out of the raft. I jump out too, swallowing a mouth full of Kennebec River water. I see the other trainees start to climb back in the raft using their upper body strength to pull themselves in, something that looks nearly impossible to me. After three failed attempts to get in the boat, without realizing what I was saying the words “I can’t” came out of my mouth. The trainer leans over, takes his sunglasses off and says “You can.”, my team of trainees cheered me on telling me I could do it. Sure enough I got myself into the boat on my next attempt. Everyday after that, this challenge became easier and easier, and every time I pulled myself into the boats a little quicker than the previous time. The feeling of accomplishment that came with overcoming this hurtle can’t be described, it’s something everyone deserves to feel themselves. After that day I never let myself think I couldn’t do one of the challenges that were in my path. 

“Always Guiding”: Officially a Licensed Maine River Guide

It’s crazy how applying for an internship online brought me to such a beautiful place and put me through one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Upon completing training and obtaining my license, I gained a much deeper appreciation and understanding of what Three Rivers stands for and the service it provides. This experience has done so much to enhance my position as a marketing intern and has caused me to grow tremendously as a person. 

If you have any interest in the Guide Training Program or the Internship Program please reach out with any questions! (207) 663-2104.