Kayaking. Indoors. In the winter.

kayak graphicKayaking lessons may not seem like the most obvious kind of activity to do in the grips of a Canadian winter. But for a group of eager Girl Guides and some anxious parents, it was the perfect way to learn outdoorsy skills… indoors.

Kayaking for the first time can be daunting – trying it in the safety of a pool gave it that a little bit of extra comfort. Dwain Forrest from Timber Outfitters was gracious enough to spend several hours in the pool showing the 1st Wingham Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders how to safely enjoy kayaking.

Our unit’s goal is to explore new experiences to broaden our horizons and help us to accept others and new experiences with an open mind. Many of the girls in our unit come from surrounding towns and have never seen a kayak, let alone had the chance to try it and see if they like it.

It was not as easy as the girls thought it would be to enter a kayak from the side of the pool. But with practice, they could all eventually manoeuver in and out gracefully. No one found themselves doing the splits trying to keep the kayak close to the pool’s edge before falling in.

For many, the scary part of the lesson was how to get safely out of the kayak if it rolled upside down. The girls were instructed by Dwain to tuck and somersault from the seat, surfacing away from the kayak. This was easier said than done!

The next step the girls had to learn was how to upright the kayak, drain the water and get back into the kayak safely. Tipping and draining required strength but little technique. The same could not be said for the re-entry from the water. There was much laughter during these attempts, as the girls stretched to grab something secure and then scramble onto the back end of the kayak, sliding down to the seat and getting their legs in without tipping over.

By the end of the session, the girls did laps around the pool to perfect their abilities. It’ll be great to bring these skills outdoors.

Guest post by Char Bretmaier, a Guider with the 1st Wingham Brownies, Guiders and Pathfinders in North Huron County, Ontario.

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