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Our History

How it all started…

Rossi, Suzanne Carr. Bill and Denise Micks. The Free Lance Star, 2019. Details

Bill Micks as a young scout was mischievous and ready for anything. Under the instruction of a scout troop leader Micks picked up a paddle, set down the Rappahannock, and started a journey that would never end.

Together, Bill and Denise Micks shared their love of the Rappahannock with the community through their home on ‘the Hill’. They started river outfitting groups from the driveway of their house and the help of students from, the former, Mary Washington College. Heavily involved in education of river safety and environmental conservation, the outfitters quickly outgrew the backyard, initiating the search for a larger riverfront property. Friends and family rallied together to find a new spot just off the river. After many years of waiting, expansion was on the horizon. The outfitters built their permanent home off of Fall Hill Avenue and have since shared the space with non-for-profit, Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR).

Developing teens and youth in the area, supporting the community, FOR, and all who pass through the wooded home of the Virginia Outdoor Center; the Micks have created a lasting legacy in the city we have all come to call home. Support for scouts, YMCA programs, churches, and diverse groups seeking to recreate on the river are welcomed at the VOC. Having not only provided a space but partnership with Friends of the Rappahannock, the VOC and FOR share resources and passion for environmental stewardship. Student and groups have sought the two for paddling and educational experiences in Fredericksburg and throughout the Rappahannock watershed. For years, it has been a place where special memories are made, and people come from all across the globe to share stories. It is within its hallowed walls beside the wild Rappahannock, that the community has learned to live, love, and respect the waters that run through Fredericksburg. The Micks’ legacies and forever friends continue to foster adventure, exploration, and community at the VOC in those young to old.

The Micks Family and VOC Families

Bill, Denise, and daughter Katherine Micks on the Rappahannock River.

Hedelt, Rob. “Difference makers hall of fame: Bill and Denise Micks.” Discover, The Free Lance Star, 15 Nov. 2019,
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