Meet Our Staff


Our Amazing, Creative, Talented Staff!

Founder/Director Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque is a world-class paddler and instructor dedicated to enhancing the lives of women through kayaking, SUP, yoga and travel.  Anna’s twenty-plus years of experience as an accomplishedIMG_3854 international competitor, instructor and guide has placed her as the leading expert in her field. She is a Level 4 certified American Canoe Association Whitewater Kayak Instructor Trainer, a certifiedIMG_7362 Level 2 American Canoe Association SUP Instructor Trainer, and a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance.

As an athlete Anna was a member of the Canadian Freestyle Whitewater Kayak Team from 1999 to 2003 and earned a bronze medal at the Freestyle World  Championships in 2001. She placed in the top 3 in several freestyle competitions and extreme races during that time and has paddled in over 10 countries around the world.

Anna combines her expertise in kayaking with her experience as a yoga instructor, a student of meditation and personal transformation to provide a holistic, empowering experience for her students.

She resides with her husband, accomplished paddler Andrew Holcombe, in Asheville, NC. Join her for a paddling and yoga retreat, class or trip and open up to the infinite possibilities that await you!

Girls at Play turns 10 in 2014 – read Anna’s article about what she has learned in the last 10 years!

Emily Shanblatt

Born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Emily did not discover her love for whitewater kayaking until she moved to the Southeast in 2006 to attend Warren Wilson College. She was introduced to whitewater paddling through a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course where she canoed the Rio Grande for 14 days. After dedicating herself to kayaking in 2007, she progressed quickly and soon began instructing. Simultaneously, Emily began focusing on getting more women involved in the sport, a passion which she still drives her today. 

Em doesn’t think there is a better way to spend a day than on a beautiful river with friends. She sees kayaking as one of the most positive forces in her life. It provides her with constant challenges, accomplishments, and an incredibly supportive community of people. Kayaking has taken her places around the world, and has made her dream of places she hopes to someday visit. She spends most of her free days on her local run, the Green River Narrows. When she’s not paddling, Em enjoys mountain biking, skiing, playing the piano, writing, and is a Vipassana meditator.

For eleven consecutive years she attended/worked at an all-girls wilderness adventure summer camp, providing her with countless transformative experiences with other women, and growing her passion for empowerment and discovery in the outdoors. She finds experiences with other women to be not only rewarding and liberating, but fun and inspirational as well. Combining her love for kayaking and women’s specific activities, working with Girls at Play is truly a dream come true!

Em has been teaching programs for Girls at Play since the Summer of 2011. Since that time she has acquired her ACA (American Canoe Association) Level 4 Whitewater Kayaking instructor certification, as well as her Level 2 Stand Up Paddleboard instructor certification. She has touched countless women’s lives through trips, instruction, and clinics, and hopes to continue empowering women on and off the water for years to come.

Anna Hallett

Anna Wagner