We’re excited that you’re interested in the 2023 Mother Lode Guide School! We have an amazing team of instructors and we’re located on one of the best rivers in California. We’re sure you have lots of questions, so let’s start answering them.
SHOULD I ATTEND GUIDE SCHOOL?
Guide School is a peak experience whether you want to be a commercial guide, or simply want to hone your skills as a private boater. So YES, you should attend Guide School!
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS IN 2023?
The Spring weekend option: The last three weekends in April 4/15-16, 4/22-23, 4/29-30.
Each session will emphasize different aspects of the commercial guiding experience. When combined the three weekends will cover the full spectrum of skills including gear, logistics, reading water, paddle guiding and an introduction to river safety.
The weekend option has been particularly popular with those who wish to get an early start on the upcoming season, while avoiding missed days at work or school.
The early Summer option: These six consecutive days 6/5 Mon thru Sat 6/10/2023 will provide the most time efficient, concentrated experience. Timing is intended to be shortly after school is out.
HOW MUCH DOES GUIDE SCHOOL COST?
Spring and Summer Guide School are both $750
IS THAT A GOOD DEAL? WHAT AM I GETTING FOR MY MONEY?
You’re a discerning customer looking for great value, we like that! Here’s what you’re getting:
-All Instruction (Includes land-based theory, multiple days on the river)
-Personal rafting equipment (wetsuit, PFD, helmet, splash jacket)
-Rafting gear (the big stuff like boats!)
-All shuttles (a ride back to camp after every trip)
-Access to commercial kitchen for other meal prep
-Accommodation (camp site, tent, sleeping pad, and secure parking)
-Pre-trip packet (pre-trip packing list, itinerary, outline of what to expect)
If you were to add up the cost of simply rafting, camping and enjoying meals with us for 6 days it would easily cost $1500, so we consider our Guide School a bargain. Nevertheless, it is not about money. Rather we love sharing our knowledge of rivers with you and this is part of our investment in your future success.
How Do I Sign Up?
You can sign up for guide school by filling out our general employment from and selecting “guide school”. For more information call (530) 626-4187 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
HOW LIKELY IS IT TO GET HIRED AS A GUIDE?
Our last session of Guide School approximately 50% of our graduates worked commercially and 33% were hired by our company. This is an exceptionally high percentage in the rafting industry. It is made even more exceptional because some of our students never intended to be commercial guides and took the school for other reasons. This reflects the quality of our students and effectiveness of our training program. Our social media reviews consistently rave about our guides. You will be joining a great team!
WHAT COMES AFTER GUIDE SCHOOL?
At the completion of guide school some students who are interested in becoming commercial guides will be selected to continue their training. This is the process of “checking off” during which you will guide commercial passengers under the supervision of an experienced guide. Once this process is successfully completed, you are eligible to be hired as a commercial guide and become an employee who is scheduled to do commercial trips.
Mother Lode is unique in that we are not only a rafting company, but also a Challenge Ropes and Outdoor Education Program. Having skills in these other areas not only makes it more likely to be selected for guide training, it gives some folks a way of earning money before they “check off” as a guide.
CAN YOU GIVE US A TASTE OF THE SPECIAL SAUCE THAT MAKES MOTHER LODE STAND OUT?
We keep our guide school classes small (usually 12 students), maintaining a low student to instructor ratio. This means that you’ll get more time guiding and better personal instruction from our teachers. This is critical to a successful learning experience.
Our instructors have been lauded for their vast knowledge, accessibility, and ability to create a fun environment to learn in. Many instructors have over a decade of experience rafting all over the world. They will be right there with you, encouraging you to overcome the challenges as an individual and as a team, creating the perfect soup from which great future guides emerge.
Lastly, Mother Lode has exceptionally high safety standards and was the first company (back in 1982) to incorporate River Rescue Certification (RRC) with Rescue 3 as a requirement for all our commercial guides. We find that completing this training prior to guide school accelerates your learning curve and we recommend Sierra Rescue as an excellent source of this training.
WHO IS SIERRA RESCUE?
As the California and Western Regional Training Center for Rescue 3 International, Sierra Rescue has over 25 years of experience providing NFPA compliant classes for Fire Departments, Search and Rescue Swiftwater Teams, USAF Parajumper, US Coast Guard Swiftwater Teams, Sheriff Departments and many other agencies. They are the premier provider of river rescue courses specifically designed for swiftwater professionals and private boaters. Check them out on the web at www.sierrarescue.com or call 1 (800) 208-2723 to talk with their staff directly.
I’M EXCITED ABOUT GUIDE SCHOOL! HOW DO I SIGN UP?
We’re excited too! All you have to do to sign up is give us a call at (530) 626-4187. Our staff, headed up by our Manager Greg Hawkins, can also answer any other questions that you may have. We don’t want anything to keep you from achieving your whitewater dreams!
“I was also very impressed on how they handled the different ages, levels, and career aspirations of the class. There were youngsters with little rafting experience who wanted eventual summer jobs and old guys like me with rafting experience looking for a bit more adventure. In each case, they tailored the training to ensure needs were met.” -Croc M.
SEE YOU ON THE RIVER!