Part of CFI’s mission is to provide training for future nature guides. To that end we provide two river guide training scholarships.


“So this is a River!”

The River,” corrected Rat.

“And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!”

“By it, and with it, and on it, and in it,” said the Rat. “It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and naturally, washing. It’s my world and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. Lord! The times we’ve had together!”

- Mole and Rat from Wind in the Willows

The Educators Scholarship Fund

The Educators Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for teachers, guides, youth leaders, naturalists, writers and others already involved in outdoor education. This scholarship pays up to 50% of program fees and is offered for all of CFI adult courses, one per course.

River Guide Scholarship Fund

For adults and youth who are new to outdoor education and river guiding, the scholarships offer 50% of fee awards for CFI’s Westwater River Rescue and our summer Teen “River Rat” whitewater camp. The fund helps to underwrite our River Apprentice internships as well. Previous guiding experience is not necessary.

Currently two scholarships are offered to honor two guides who made the river their way of life and loved sharing skills with newcomers:

The Joy Ungruitch Carber Scholarship

The Brian “Grandma” Coombs Scholarship

Joy was an accomplished international river guide and one of the first women to work professionally on the river in the Canyonlands area. She completed a number of first descents for Sobek around the world. She helped to developed CFI’s intern program and taught river rescue courses. She died in 1992 from cancer.

Brian passed away in November, 2006 from a heart failure. He was an accomplished cook, winning the river guides’ dutch oven cook-off years in a row – and was known as “Grandma” for his fastidious kitchen habits. He was skilled in outdoor emergency medicine and ran more river rescues than can be cataloged. Brian’s extraordinary talent will not be lost. He took great satisfaction in teaching young river guides in the ways of the water and the value of a good campfire song. With that, Brian and his voice will live, forever, on the river.


Applicants must register and send in a deposit for one of the eligible courses before being considered for the scholarship. A completed scholarship application must be submitted to CFI at least 60 days prior to the course start date. Scholarship application forms are available in PDF format (Acrobat Reader browser plug-in or application required.)

The scholarship recipient will be notified approximately 45 days prior to the course. The remainder of the tuition less the amount of the Scholarship Award will be due 30 days prior to the program. Those NOT selected will have their reservation deposit returned OR may choose to fully register and pay the balance of fees. Standard cancellation policies apply to those receiving scholarship assistance.


After the course, the scholarship recipient will be sent a course evaluation to complete and return.