Our volunteer trip initiators propose/offer a variety of NSPN trips each
year under the Common Adventure Model. From Cape Cod to Casco Bay, be
it a leisurely flat-water paddle to those with challenging conditions,
from an afternoon outing to a multi-day camping excursion, we offer a
wide range of trips for our wide range of club members.
Additionally, we provide a public forum for paid members to announce
Show and Go trips that are often spontaneous and less structured. Come
paddle with us!
Common Adventure Trip Defined
A Common Adventure trip is two or more individuals working cooperatively
for common goals and sharing expenses and responsibilities as equitably
as possible. There are no paid guides. Any instruction or advice provided
by any member of the group is given gratuitously in a spirit of cooperation.
Members of the group do not hold one another or others liable for accidents.
On a Common Adventure trip, everyone is expected to share in the responsibilities
of the trip. The trip initiator (the person who posted the trip) simply
gets the ball rolling. The rest of the group is expected to help plan
for the success of the trip, from the arrival at the launch and beach
briefing until the trip has ended and everyone is safely on their way
home. The success or failure of a common adventure trip rests not in the
hands of the trip initiator, or NSPN, but rather in the hands of everyone
that participates in the trip.
Common Adventure trip postings, in turn, provide a means of getting people
together to participate in a paddling trip that might not have been possible
if they had tried to do it alone. Any NSPN member is welcome to initiate
a Common Adventure trip to be placed on the NSPN Calendar. These trips
are available for all NSPN members that have sufficient experience required
for the particular trip and are welcome to sign up. The trip message board
is also available to anyone wishing to post a more spontaneous trip.
What are the key elements of a Common Adventure
- Common Adventure trips are not guided trips. There is no designated
"leader" or "guide" who makes all the decisions
for the group. Rather, leadership is fluid and group decisions are made
- Every member of a Common Adventure group has responsibilities and
contributes to the trip, whether by helping with trip planning, buying
food, loading vehicles or cleaning up after it's over. No one goes for
a free ride.
- There are no guide fees. No group money goes to pay any one person
among the group, nor does any money go to any outside individual or
sponsoring institution or club. The cost of the trip is shared.
- Common adventure groups strive for fairness, free and open discussion,
and an equitable sharing of responsibilities.
Organizing an NSPN Common Adventure Trip
- Posting of Trip. The NSPN member that develops a
trip idea will post on the NSPN
trips forum. He or she may also post it to the NSPN
- Trip Initiator. The person who posts the event is
known in Common Adventure vernacular as the "trip initiator."
He is not the trip leader. Since leadership on a Common Adventure is
a fluid affair, involving participation from all members of the group,
there is no such thing as a designated "trip leader."
- Sign-ups. Once the trip is posted, people who are
interested in the trip can sign-up by contacting the trip initiator
by following the instructions on the posting.
- Pre-trip Meeting and or Beach Briefing. The next
step in the process is the pre-trip meeting. The pre-trip meeting is
a key part of organizing a Common Adventure trip. Up to this point,
the trip has been the trip initiator's idea. At the pre-trip meeting,
it becomes a cooperative group project. Everyone who is interested gathers
together and all aspects of the trip are discussed. Since the trip is
now in the group's hands, decisions about the trip are made as a group.
The group may decide to make some changes in the trip: where they go
and what they plan to do. The meeting gives everyone a chance to find
out exactly what the trip is all about. Some individuals may decide
that after learning the details, the trip is not what they want to do
and they can drop out. For those who decide to go on the trip, the meeting
gives them a chance to be properly prepared and to learn what clothing,
equipment, etc. they need. Also, what skill level is expected for the
- Trip Leadership. While on a Common Adventure trip,
leadership is a fluid process. If someone knows the area, he assumes
a leadership role, helping the group find their way. If there's an accident
on the trip and someone has good first aid skills, they assume leadership.
If a kayaker capsizes, another person may take over. Major decisions
are made democratically as a group, with weight given to those with
specialized knowledge. Often it is the trip initiator that guides the
democratic process. In this process, everyone is able to express their
opinions and shed light on the decision. By involving everyone, the
group is able to tap all of its resources, making it far stronger than
if one person tries to make all of the decisions.
- Trip Safety. Because everyone's opinion is important
and because everyone is working for the common good of the group, trips
are safer. Among their responsibilities, members of Common Adventure
groups keep an eye out for one another. Because of the open, democratic
environment, they are less apt to hold back when they see potential
problems. This participatory form of safety is highly effective, certainly
more effective than if only person is in charge of keeping track of
- Learning on the Trip. Common Adventure trips create
an ideal environment for experiential learning. There are, of course,
no designated teachers, but those on the trip with more experience can
share their knowledge and skills with others with less experience.
Any questions or concerns should be directed to the NSPN Board of Directors.
There is frequently a PPPO (Post Paddle Pig-Out) after trips, so save
some time and bring money and a change of clothes to enjoy a good time
at a local restaurant with your paddling pals!