The Importance of an Active, Healthy Community

2011 is already shaping up to be the busiest season since starting NMKI in 2008.  I knew this time would come, and spent much of the earlier years investing in the community, leading trips of former students to Colorado, and the various water-ways throughout New Mexico, so they could learn the routes, take future generations of students out, and grow the community organically. 

There is so much water in New Mexico, and surrounding areas, it's difficult for any one person to know everywhere there is to go, where to access the lake or river, where to camp, what to see and do, the fun local restaurants, etc.  Therein lies the most basic function of an active, healthy community; to facilitate information to those who are most interested in that information.

Almost without exception, there are three main questions every beginner wants to know;

  1. Where do I go kayaking in NM?
  2. Who do I go with?
  3. What kind of gear do I need?

Simple enough.  Answer these three questions, and there's no reason for someone not to get involved, right?   A healthy, active community should answer these questions and more.  Ideally, an active community should keep these members engaged long after they learn where to go, and who to go with.

Being a part of an active, healthy community is one of the best ways to get your feet (...and your boat) wet! 

In 2008 I inherited the 'Albuquerque Kayak Meetup' group (soon to be renamed "Greater Albuquerque/Santa Fe Kayak Meetup) when there were just about 10 members.  I needed a place where I could effectively communicate with 10 members, or refer another 200 new ones about the trips I was doing, sales & gear-swaps that were taking place, free clinics, and other events throughout the community, such as the Olympic Team Trials in Durango, the Banff Mountain Film Festival, Heron Lake Paddle Festival and so forth.   There are things going on daily - but so few people know about them.  This 'meetup' was the perfect place to send them to, to connect with others, and to get the most out of the sport.  

It's important to me that the community have equal parts of education, social events, and outings together.  Greater competence allows us to go further, stay longer, to more remote locations, with less risk, and when things don't always go as planned (an adverse change in the weather, for example).   Social events allow us to meet one another face-to-face.  In a class last summer, I learned that one of my students attended the same university as me, majored in the same program, and had the same advisor; There was just 40 years between the two of us.  I know so many people that work at Intel, UNM or APS, and love kayaking, yet few of them know their co-workers also love kayaking.  These are the kind of topics that come out at the social events, and often the extra bonus that makes kayaking more fun for us.  Finally, trips and outings are really what make the community fun. Whether you're headed to Taos for the day, or Colorado for the weekend, camping out at any of New Mexico's awesome lakes, or planning a trip to Lake Powell, Big Bend, or the Sea of Cortez, it's these kind of awesome trips that help us balance living and working in a busy city.

With the help of a few motivated ambassadors, today I'm proud to say the Greater Albuquerque/Santa Fe Kayak Meetup group is everything I think a healthy, active community should be.  With more than 350 active members between the two groups, there's an even mix of social events, educational events, local day-trips, and extended regional trips. There's trips for whitewater paddlers, and flat-water paddlers.  Trips for new people and experienced veterans, and even events for disabled youth and veterans.  Trips for people with inflatable kayaks, and trips for people and their pets.  There are community service events, such as river clean-ups, 'kayak safety support' at the open-water triathlons, events for people with disabilities; for volunteers and participants.  People know one another face to face and by name (not an online alias), people respect the fact that virtually everyone else is a skilled paddler, to some degree, and that makes the group even stronger, and more capable.

Membership to the Greater Albuquerque/Santa Fe Kayak Meetup is free, but it is necessary to meet only one of three requirements;

  1. Anyone who has taken a pool or river-lesson from New Mexico Kayak Instruction is invited by default.  At it's core - Greater Albuquerque/Santa Fe Kayak Meetup group was created for you. If you've taken a pool or river lesson from NMKI, take a moment to join this community now.
  2. Do you own a boat?  If so, please join us.
  3. Finally if you've not taken a lesson from NMKI, and don't own a boat, I ask that you consider what you can contribute to make the group stronger in some way. Can you host a social event and get like-minded people together? Singles, Boomers, people who love paddling with their pets, people with inflatable kayaks, or Father/Daughter or Big Brother /Big Sister events.  The possibilities are endless.  Can you bring cookies to the next event?  Lead a trip to your favorite venue?  Share documentary kayak videos at our monthly 'happy hour'? Help load & unload boats at the next trip?  There are any number of ways to contribute to the overall health, and activity of a growing community....and it has little to do with experience, skill or leadership.

When you access the site, you'll notice that the group is "private"; You must be a member to view the calendar and member profiles.  This is strictly to protect the privacy and online identity of our members - and the end result is a much closer 'community' of friends. 

That's it for now.  I look forward to seeing you at the next Meetup event!

Kelly

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Upcoming Kayak Instruction Classes

Currently there are no Intro to Kayaking clinics scheduled. Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Intro, Roll, Whitewater and Touring clinics, or Contact Us for a private lesson.
Currently there are no Kayak Roll clinics scheduled. Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Intro, Roll, Whitewater and Touring clinics, or Contact Us for a private lesson.
Title Date City Name
(Level 3) Whitewater Kayaking Made Easy Saturday, September 30, 2017 - 9:00am - Sunday, October 1, 2017 - 5:00pm Pilar Pilar Yacht Club
Currently there are no Advanced Whitewater clinics scheduled. Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Intro, Roll, Whitewater and Touring clinics, or Contact Us for a private lesson.
Title Date City Name
"Open House" Kayak & SUP Fun, Games and Practice Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm Bernalillo Sandia Lakes Recreation Area