James River Leadership Expeditions


The James River Leadership Expeditions (JRLE) is a year-long leadership program for all high school students who are interested in advocating for the future of the James River. The goal of JRLE is to engage, develop, train, and inspire participants in preparation of taking personal and community-wide action to address issues facing the James River. The JRLE is one of the best learning experiences for young people, as travelling to an entirely new part of Virginia pushes us outside our comfort zones, both mentally and physically.

As part of JRLE, you will commit to helping communities realize the benefits from a healthy James River and support protecting it with your community capstone project. By joining JRLE, you have a chance to take on an exciting year-long challenge where you will develop leadership skills and working knowledge that will help you in higher education and your career. 


For more information

If your group or organization would like more information about the James River Leadership Expeditions please contact Matt Scott at mscott@thejamesriver.org.

When is the JRLE?

Session 1:
Upper: July 18-22
Lower: August 1-5

Session One is offered during the summer as three different week-long experiences. During Session One, JRLE removes barriers and allows for our youth to engage in new experiences that they may have not been exposed to before. With our education staff, youth are given unparalleled access to local culture and history.

Session 2: November 5th & 6th, 2022 (overnight)
Building Project Vision & Stewardship. In Session Two, students will have the opportunity to brainstorm community capstone projects.

Session 3: January 7th, 2023
Inspiring Our Commitment & Working Groups. Session Three includes revisiting personality styles, self-awareness, and relationship management. We will review public speaking skills with demonstrations and games.

Session 4: May 6th, 2023
Leadership Launch and Environmental Symposium. In Session Four, students will celebrate all their achievements from the year with JRLE and present their capstone project.

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Partnerships are an important component of community conservation efforts. Partners can enhance community engagement in projects, increase community awareness of the issues in our watershed, and establish a structure for the support of our youth in the James River...

The James River Association Education Staff will provide expert instruction on paddling and camping skills, teambuilding, wildlife identification, water quality monitoring, history, river ecology, and policy. The safety of the trip participants is the priority; staff with training in canoe instruction, Wilderness First Responder, and CPR will always be present with the team.

If selected, a deposit of $200 will be requested to secure your position in the program; all supplies, gear, food, training, and instruction are included. This fee can be waived or reduced if it would prevent you from participating.

The James River Leadership Expeditions allows students to bond with other students that share their passion for the environment to develop their network of support. They will also meet environmental professionals with different backgrounds and knowledge to build a network of people they can contact in the future when applying for schools, jobs, and so much more. They will get the opportunity to learn about environmental careers and programs they can pursue. The students will also learn about the history, wildlife, and water quality of the James River. The JRLE is an immersive, hands-on learning experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.

James River Leadership Expeditions Application

2023-2024 Application period is opens in January 2023

What is needed for the application:

  • Student Contact Information
  • 300 Word Essay
  • 5 Short Answer Questions
  • 2 Teacher/Mentor Letters of Recommendation