Mark Thompson – SE Rendezvous & Outtasight Clinic

Wanted to say thanks for the Out of Sight Clinic at the Nantahala river. It was fantastic and I had a great time! You and the other volunteers did a great job – all were knowledgeable and patient, creating a welcoming, friendly and comfortable environment for those of us with impaired vision. As a newbie to kayaking I learned a lot! Everything was new for me: how to pick up and carry a kayak, setting up a kayak, getting into the cockpit and securing the skirt, holding the paddle, strokes and, most importantly, how to survive a flipped kayak (wet exit). I’d definitely like to do more kayaking in the future and what I learned will continue to be valuable and useful. Of course I still have lots more to learn

The Friday run on the Nantahala in the tandem ducky was a blast, even if we (Mike was my pilot) did lose it at the Falls. Hey, anyone can do the Falls in a boat but I got to swim it!

Oh, and the zip-lining was an unexpected bonus and a crap-ton of fun, too!

Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports