[VIDEO] Family Founded, Family Operated, Family Values

Posted August 2, 2021 by Jack Armstrong: grandson of founder George Armstrong
View time: 2 mins

Listen to All-Outdoors owner Gregg Armstrong tell the story of how the family got hooked on whitewater rafting back in the 1960’s, how the family keeps growing the rafting business, and how the rafting business keeps growing the family.

How It Started and How It’s Going

In 1962 when rafting was just beginning, my dad George decided to take a yellow department store raft down the Stanislaus River. Needless to say, he ended up spending more time in the water than in the raft that day. Never in a million years would I have imagined how that trip would shape my family and our future.

George was obsessed with the idea of rafting! A year after that first trip, he went back to the Stanislaus, this time bringing a family friend and our 11-year-old sister. A few months later, he did a third trip – brought my mom, my younger brother, and myself. You know, we all thought he was a little crazy. But after just one trip we understood his obsession and determination.

There was still a lot to learn, but before long, our whole family was just as obsessed as he was. Eager to share our love for rivers with others, family trips soon turned into commercial trips. As demand for rafting trips grew, we brought in cousins, close friends, and even George’s former high school students and co-teachers to help with our budding company. Although not all the staff was directly related, we were the closest family around.

As time went on, a new generation of family entered the scene. Many of George’s grandchildren got involved as guides, adventure consultants, bus drivers, river managers, media specialists… The list goes on and on. Even my dad in his 90’s now still helps out!

Our little company grew. All united by what brought us together in the first place. As for the family…well, that keeps getting bigger every trip.

Author Bio

Jack Armstrong

Jack grew up 35 minutes from AO headquarters, and is the grandson of our founder, George. His education includes a film degree and art studies from Biola University, as well as lots of experience breaking camera gear outside. After graduating college, he started an outdoors/action sports focused production company and is largely responsible for our video, photo, and social media content. Jack’s favorite trip is the Cal-Salmon, because of the river’s awe-inspiring beauty and the sweet rapids. When he’s not rafting or playing with cameras, Jack can be found skiing, surfing, visiting art galleries, or eating tacos.


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