Rippleffect is committed to youth development using, primarily, the kayak as a tool and Casco Bay as a classroom. Rippleffect, through its comprehensive programming, focuses on such fundamental themes as setting achievable goals, overcoming obstacles, and realizing the difference between acceptable and unacceptable risky behavior.
Rippleffect is based on the Portland peninsula and on Cow Island, a 26 acre outpost and facility for our expeditions. Other activities include hiking, basic rock climbing, ropes course activities, and stewardship/ community service projects. We are developing a comprehensive environmental education curricullum for 2003 that will allow us to provide a unique educational resource on Cow Island for area schools.
Strong communities require dynamic leaders. Over the last three decades, purposeful wilderness experiences have played a growing role in developing character, fostering decision-making skills, and building leadership qualities in students. Rippleffect works to provide youth with a platform for esteeming experiences in their own backyard. Our courses increase students awareness of the world and community around them. Our guides model decision-making skills that will allow them to create positive roles and lifestyles for themselves. We believe that experience is truly the greatest teacher. By fostering a safe environment in the outdoors and providing staff members who can act as “guides” in many capacities, our youth begin to intuit lessons of tenacity, efficiency, fortitude, and empathy in ways that the classroom can rarely teach.
Rippleffect was spawned in late May of 1999 when a team of six set out from Lubec, Maine on a kayak journey to memorialize the lives of several people who had died of AIDS. They were all personal friends of founder Ted Regan, who organized the expedition as both an homage to his fallen mentors and as a way to educate youth about the disease, and speak to them about acceptable vs. unacceptable risk in their daily lives. The journey ended on December 31, 1999 when Ted and Aaron Frederick, the two remaining paddlers from the original group pulled into Key West after having paddled 2600 miles and having met with 2300 youth down the coast.
Inspired by the relationships formed with youth on the journey, Rippleffect returned to Maine and revised its mission to become a community based youth development organization that specializes in adventure and wilderness experiences that build confidence and esteem. In July of 2001, Rippleffect and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust partnered to secure Cow Island, in Casco Bay, from possible development. The island will become a unique conservation resource and educational outpost for our future programs.