Like a lot of seasonal businesses, we employ a number of college students as summer help, and now that many of them have gone back to school we can rave about them without having them around to remind us how great we said they were (although I suspect at least one of our summer photography staff will find a way to remind us, and yes, Conor, I am talking about you!)
Conor McClure is 19 years old and about to begin his sophomore year at Appalachian State as a music student. His interest in music grew from learning how to play the piano when he was a kid, to wandering into a high school string instrument practise by accident, and taking up the violin for the sheer sport of it. Conor has been paddling for the past few years and says the thing he loves most about his job as a summer photographer with French Broad Rafting Expeditions, is that he gets to spend his summer on the river, taking pictures from one of the most beautiful places along the river, AND getting paid for it in the process!
Deana Butler is a sophomore at Western Carolina University where she is pursuing a degree in elementary education. She is also a runner, and while she was excited about going back to school, she wasn’t looking forward to long days spent back on the road getting in shape for cross country competitions. Deana practically grew up on the river, since her father, Tom Butler, has been a raft guide and trip leader at French Broad Rafting for the better part of the past 29 years. Deana says her favorite part of the job is watching people getting bounced around on the river like human pinballs. By the way, the old guy in the picture with Deana? That’s Ed Ballard, who deserves a blog post all his own!
23 year-old Tasia Hampton is busy getting ready to move into her own apartment now that she’s expecting her first child. Tasia is the daughter of Mitch Hampton, one of the two twin brothers who own French Broad Rafting, and as she says, “I learned how to raft before I learned how to walk”. Tasia will have plenty of help with the latest addition to the Hampton clan, since her father, uncle, grandmother and cousins all work at the outpost. If you throw a rock around here, you WILL wind up hitting a Hampton. I don’t encourage this kind of behavior of course, I am just saying…..
Laurel Scherer started All Terrain Images in 2004 after a stint in the Air Force as a public affairs officer escorting news media to sensitive areas all over the world. In some cases, she also photographed places and events that were TOO sensitive. Her last job with the Air Force was designing their website, so it was a natural transition to developing her own photography business in the action and sporting events arena following her decision to leave in 2001. The thing Laurel likes best about working with college students is watching them develop confidence in their abilities as the summer progresses.
Last, but by no means least, there is Jordan Paris, who turned 20 on August 6. Jordan had his tonsils taken out about a week before his birthday, so his birthday celebration was hardly the occasion he’d hoped for. “We went out to dinner” he says, “and I couldn’t eat anything, and then I went home and went to bed”. Jordan is a junior at UNCA where’s he’s studying mass communications, although he has plans to attend medical school to become an optometrist in the future. “I have to have an undergrad degree” he says, “and chemistry just isn’t my thing”. Jordan, who has been paddling since he was 16, and is a second year raft guide as well, says what he likes best about being on the river is the peace and quiet of being outdoors on his own.
I can honestly say that we are really going to miss the summer photography staff. They are a sarcastic, funny, bright, outgoing group of people and we sincerely hope they will all be back again next year, or we are going to have to harrass a whole new group of photographers, and since we already know everyone’s soft spot, it will sure save some time next year. Like they say, you always hurt the ones you love and we love you guys a lot.
Yes, Conor…even you…..