Neches River Rendezvous

by Tina Alexander

Whether you're an environmentalist with a cause, or just need a relaxing day out of the house, the Neches River Rendezvous is the place you needed to be today.  Each year hundreds of participants take the ten mile trip down the Neches River.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, perfect for a canoe trip. And, that's exactly how more than 300 people spent their morning...gliding down the Neches River.

Guides greeted the groups and checked them in, while Area Boy Scout troops helped them launch.

This is the 11th year for the River Rendezvous.  Each year it seems to grow.

This year it hit its event limit way ahead of the entry deadline.  Organizers say that's because the trip offers a great experience for all types of people.  From the seasoned veteran to the first time curiosity seeker, the Rendezvous will give you something to talk about.

Donna Busler, an annual Participant spent her birthday at the Rendezvous. "My husband Brad's with Troop 136 and they work it, so it's something we enjoy ding as a family."  First time participant Jan Westerman says every year she vows to attend and this year she finally made it.  "We're with Troop 134 and we come out to help their troop as well."

For Boy Scout Troops 135, 128 and others it was a chance to earn some merit points.  "The boys like to get involved in the community and they get community service credit hours towards their advancement and rank," said Assistant Troop Master Raymond Sims.  "I think the Rendezvous is a great opportunity for people who don't have the equipment or who don't have the experience because they get to come out and participate in something where it's very organized, they don't have to have canoes, they can be provided for them.  They can take advantage of other people that have more experiences and they can get out and show them the ropes and so forth."

Among the quiet stillness of the River, you'll hear rustle of trees, insects busy with their work, a bird calling, water lapping, chatter and laughter among some of the participants.

"I think any time they get out in nature and participate it gives them an appreciation that I think carries with them for the rest of their lives," said Sims.

Van load after van load of people seeking their Neches River experience launched their canoes into the calming waters.  Slowly paddling down stream and around the bend...many of them already looking ahead to the next time.