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Kayaking is one of the coolest things families can do together in New Mexico. Kids love it because it's a new way to play on the water. Parents love it because it builds courage, confidence and character. It's great exercise and gets kids active and away from idle activities like television and video games, and reconnects them to nature and non-material things. As their skills improve, kayaking becomes a great way to explore the outdoors, access new campsites, hiking trails or fishing holes.
Kayaking teaches kids "River Sense" or situational awareness. Like 'street smarts,' River Sense is an intuitive awareness of their surroundings, how the river or weather is changing, anticipating dangerous situations and where their buddies are and how everyone is doing. Kayaking is full of natural consequences, where kids learn to balance risk and reward, Along the way, they're learning valuable team-building and leadership skills, good judgment, accountability and responsibility for their actions. Many kids are drawn to kayaking because it's a fun and unique social activity, while others are drawn to the competitive games, including freestyle kayaking and 'whitewater canoe slalom' - an Olympic sport. Other kids are drawn to the personal challenge and accomplishment of learning to work with the river.
This class is designed for kids age 5 - 8. At this age, many kids are just learning to become comfortable in the water, and the kayak opens up new opportunities for them to learn and play. While some children may have natural fears in the beginning, others will want to jump right in! This class focuses more on social development than on kayaking technique. Throughout this class, the kids will play fun games and team building skills that build confidence and courage.
Parents and active adults are strongly encouraged to attend. In addition to learning basic kayaking skills and having fun with your kids, you will learn to perform simple team-building rescues and develop a watchful eye for common risks. Familiar adults often give the kids security and confidence to try new activitie, and make the event a lot more fun!
Week 1 - February 22
Assign gear, focus on fun interactions with the boat and water; climbing into the kayak, jumping out of the kayak, riding in or on the kayak. Getting used to being in, on, or around the kayak, working toward independence.
Week 2 - March 8
Review week 1, Introduce 'Wet Exit,' Introduce parts of the boat, types of PFDs
Game of the Day: "Sponge Bob Tag"
Week 3 - March 22
Review week 2, Introduce paddle and basic strokes
Game of the Day: "Duct Tape Tag"
Week 4 - April 5
Review week 3, Introduce forward and reverse stroke
Game of the Day: "Ultimate Kayak Frisbee"
Week 5 - April 19
Review week 4, Introduce Basic boating safety
Game of the Day: "Simon Says..."
Week 6 - May 3
Review week 5, practice, review and quiz time
Game of the Day: "Indoor Pool Slalom"
I was excited to take the pool class, even though a few friends ridiculed taking a kayak class ("What's so hard about kayaking?!"). The whitewater clinic presented challenges I was not expecting (physically, mentally or emotionally), and it heightened my awareness of the river, the sport, challenges and myself. It has taken me a week to process this experience, and I welcome the time it will take to continue to process both the instruction and personal learned experience. This course was positively intense!
Kelly is fun and enthousiastic about kayaking. If you're interested in learning to kayak, this is the place to be!