Information for Volunteers

Wonders on the Wabash rafts on the river

Wonders of the Wabash (WOW) program is part of STEM education. 

September is a great month to have this program, it’s early enough to where the teachers can use what the children have learned and expand upon it. Or, in some cases, the program is an expansion of what they have been studying.

Before this excursion, the TCPWQ Educator will have visited each school participating in Wonders on the Wabash. The educator will have explained to students and teachers what their day on the water entails. All the students will have preformed a pre-test for this trip. All the students, parents, and teachers will be aware of what the students will be learning about and tested on.

This is not a race to the finish line. Students will be aware that they will be competing against other rafts for high test scores. Prizes are awarded to the raft with the highest test scores.

Mandatory Background Checks for Volunteers

Thank you for your willingness to volunteer for the Wonders on the Wabash program! To be a volunteer, you will be required to pass a background check through the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department. The background check will be covered at no cost to you.

The background check form is found here.

Your completed form will need to be mailed or delivered in-person to 20 N Third Street, Lafayette, IN 47901 or scanned and emailed to mchristopher@tippecanoe.in.gov. Thank you for your willingness to volunteer. 

​We look forward to seeing you on the water!

Raft Instructor Responsibilities

As a raft instructor, your responsibilities will be arming your students with the information that will be on the On-the-River test. You will receive this information via email before your day on the water to give you ample time to review.

Other raft instructor responsibilities include:
  • Ensuring the safety of the students in your raft at all times
  • Making sure your students adhere to the rules at all times
  • Staying with your students at all times
  • Keeping your raft moving and on schedule
  • Please do not help students with their tests

Safety Information

In the event of an emergency while on the water, Emergency Personnel will be present in a motorized safety boat. They will have a first aid kit and will be able to assist.

The trip will only be canceled in the event of severe weather or dangerously high water levels. If the day is canceled, you will be notified via text. Unfortunately, if we do have to cancel, we cannot make up that day.

Our Route

Wonders on the Wabash rafting trip

Daily Schedule

8:00 AM - Volunteers Arrive at Fort Ouiatenon

Park your vehicle at Fort Ouiatenon, located at 3136 S River Road, West Lafayette, IN 47906, between 8 AM and 8:15 AM. You will be shuttled from Fort Ouiatenon to Tapawingo Park (100 Tapawingo Dr., West Lafayette).

8:30 AM - Shuttle Arrives at Tapawingo Park 

Seek out the TCPWQ Educators when you arrive you at Tapawingo Park via the shuttle. The educators will provide you with your group number, your adult rafting partner, and a clear bag with the following items:

  • colored wristbands for you and your students
  • on-the-river guide to help you cover the topics your students will be tested on (*raft instructors are not allowed to help their students with their tests).
  • a spiral notebook for students to take notes
  • two pencils
  • hand wipes
  • a whistle

Your raft will also be equipped with one large dry bag. There will be bottled water and Goldfish crackers inside the bag for a snack at the first island. This bag is large enough to fit jackets that the students may have brought. A separate clothes basket with your group number on it will be used to store extra clothing brought by the students in case they get wet. The basket will be shuttled to the fort by the land crew.

Once all volunteers have arrived, there will be a morning meeting regarding weather updates, agenda updates, number of students, any medical or special needs we need to be aware of, and to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the day.

This will be your last opportunity to use a restroom until we get to Fort Ouiatenon!

9:00 AM - Students Arrival at Tapawingo Park

Buses of students will begin arriving between 9:00 and 9:30. When the students arrive, a land crew person will number the students’ hands as they exit the bus. This number signifies which raft they'll be on for the day. They will be directed to find the adult with the number that matches their number. Once you have all your students, introduce yourself, then send students to get a paddle, and a life jacket.

If you have a few minutes before morning announcements, please take a moment to get to know one another, go over how to paddle, and assign a person to take notes. They will be allowed to use their notes during testing.

Morning Announcements: Once everyone has their life jackets and paddles, everyone will gather at the shelter area for morning announcements. Students and teachers will be welcome and rules will be covered. There will also be a quick explanation of how to properly hold a paddle, and any questions and/or concerns will be addressed.

Launch: After morning announcements and last call for restrooms, we will launch. Students—equipped with life jackets and paddles—will walk down to the launching area where all the rafts have been prepared.

Please be prepared to have wet feet and possibly wet clothing. You may get wet. We strongly suggest you wear old closed-toe shoes, water shoes, or Keens. Please do not wear Crocs or water socks. We suggest bringing a change of clothes and foot wear.

Arriving at Fort Ouiatenon

Once you've arrive at Fort Ouiatenon, use the following procedure:
  • Students and raft instructors are responsible for carrying their raft up to the grassy area.
  • Lifejackets will need to be spread out on the grass to dry.
  • Paddles will be placed in a pile near the bins.
  • Students will head to the shelter, where there will be a table with their raft number on it. Stay with your students!
  • Students will take their test BEFORE lunch. Keep students at your table until they are dismissed.
  • While students are waiting their turn for lunch, ask them questions about what they saw on the river! Students love to share stories.
Recommendations for a comfortable day on the water
  • Bring a change of clothing, towel, and a dry pair of shoes—you might get wet!
  • Leave all extras in your vehicle at the Fort so they're waiting for you when we arrive.

Questions and Concerns

Please feel free to contact the Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality (TCPWQ) with any questions and/or concerns you may have at 765-423-9228 or email Monica Christopher at mchristopher@tippecanoe.in.gov.