December 2020 Update from Get Kids Paddling

Hello again!

Our planning teams have been very busy over the past few months and we are very pleased to share some of their efforts. 

We’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts. Write us.


Below is a survey asking WHERE paddling instruction is available for kids in Canada.

We hope that its results might lead to a national registry, or at least the beginnings of one. Results will be published on this website.

The survey also asks respondents to consider engaging in a national dialogue. Those discussions may result in sharing good practices, and assistance, right across Canada. What great opportunities for promoting kids’ paddling!

Please help by forwarding the survey to paddling organizations, companies and instructors you know.


Together with Erica Bota from ThinkLink GraphicsGet Kids Paddling has produced an exciting visual to capture a 2-hour discussion where 7 people spoke openly about their paddling experiences, primarily on canoe trips.

Click the image below to view, download, and share a higher-resolution version of the illustration displaying how Erica captured the conversation.

Feel free to share this graphic widely. Did it resonate with you? Tell us. 


Our Schools Committee is wrestling with many factors regarding school paddling programs, a major one being risk management.

Bob Henderson has shared one of his recent pieces entitled A Case for School Canoe Trips: Rethinking Risk 

And check out Bob’s blog website HERE, especially, Thoughts and Admittedly a Bit of a Rant on the Wilderness Superhero “Look at Me” Adventure Narrative.

Finally for now – Happy Holidays, stay safe, and don’t forget to write. You can do that by sending us a message through the comment section for this post- or reach out to us directly through our contact page.

Outdoor Educators: Complete the OPHEA Annual Survey!

Dear Outdoor Educators,
Recent changes by OPHEA to their safety guidelines have made our roles as
outdoor educators exceedingly challenging. Many of us see a general lack of
understanding by OPHEA in regards to the true risks involved in paddling and
while on canoe trips.

OPHEA has produced a survey looking for feedback by Friday December 4th ,
2020.  As outdoor educators, we have an opportunity to voice our concerns
directly to OPHEA.  By completing the attached survey in large numbers, we can
hope that collectively, we may get this point across, and this would hopefully
compel OPHEA to rethink their approach to producing guidelines that are too
restrictive and created with far too little input.
Please click on the link below and complete the attached survey.  
And please forward this email to other teachers you know who you think would
like to complete this survey to provide feedback to OPHEA on the impact their
safety guidelines are having on outdoor education.

Click here to complete the OPHEA Annual Survey!


Dave Goldman, Chair
Get Kids Paddling

Ready, Fire, Aim…

Hello again!

This is the first posting from our new Blog on the refurbished GKP website. It is being sent to over 400 of you who have been joining us since 2013. It’s been a long time coming and we’re excited! 

We will share with you what we are doing and what our plans are, AND we always want your input and feedback. 

As we continue to live through Covid-19, Climate Change, the US election and economic destabilization, the thought of making plans to get kids paddling may seem frivolous. 

We think otherwise.

If paddling and the backcountry have been important parts of our lives, is there some reason they should not be held in the same regard for today’s generation of kids?  

Besides, with what’s happening right now, there is more time to think and plan and collaborate. We can meet inexpensively, and we have access to some of the finest minds around. 

Over the summer our Steering Committee has been considering how to get kids paddling. And what a lot of kids there are!  Currently, there are 4.2 million Canadians between the ages of 10 and 19! Enough to go around.  

An update of the past 6 months

One crew will soon be canvassing across Canada to find out what organizations and individuals offer paddling instruction for kids. We intend to publish that list on the GKP website. Send us your information if this applies to you, and/or send us organizations that you know of that offer instruction. 

We also want to engage in discussions with all those offering instruction so we can share ideas right across Canada. Who knows what could come from this kind of collaboration?

Another crew is focussing on school paddling programs in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, BC and the Territories. In the past, school programs have been outstanding for introducing kids to the Canadian outdoors. In recent years, restrictions have been strangling. We hope to identify, address and correct many of the issues. 

We’ve heard of some school programs that did take place in 2020. If you know of any, let us know. Also let us know of schools, boards and leaders in your part of the country that have made paddling happen.

And then there’s the WHY of it all. Why is it important to you to get kids paddling?  I’ve already shared my rationale on the website. We want to hear from all of you who want to share your thinking, and will publish all that is sent to us. And why? Because what you say may help others express what they are thinking.

We will share the research we are gathering. To what end?  To help us build the needed arguments to bolster our cause when we have to deal with others who don’t understand, or who are afraid.

There is more in the works. Later.

Our website is becoming more functional. It has always contained great resources regarding trip preparation and background information.

Please share this website with others and encourage them to join us by signing up. You sign up too.

And think about joining us by offering your help. There’s plenty of freeboard.

Best wishes.

Dave Goldman, Chair

Get Kids Paddling