GKP Founders

Get Kids Paddling Founders : Dave Goldman, John Burton, & Phil Matsushita

John Burton, Dave Goldman and Phil Matsushita began chatting about the current state of affairs in canoe tripping for schools at an ORCKA conference in April, 2013.

All three are certified canoe instructors. John was head of science with the Bluewater Board and conducted annual school trips of 2 weeks and more for a number of years. Phil was a school principal in the Durham Board and had been responsible for the promotion of tripping throughout his Board. Dave was a retired principal (1993), a past president of ORCKA (1999-2001) and was currently promoting tripping with outdoor clubs.

Dave Goldman | GKP Co-founder

As the lone retiree in 2013, Dave took on the role of Chair. And while he continues in that role, he would be happy to pass it on to a willing replacement. Over the past seven years, he is very pleased to have seen GKP not only go national, but that it now promotes paddling for all communities, camps and organizations that work with kids. Dave still instructs paddlers and is currently pilotting a Basic Instructor “pay it forward” course.

John Burton | GKP Co-founder

John retired from teaching in 2017 after 28 years as an Outdoor Education and Science Teacher with the Bluewater District School Board.  He taught a 4-credit integrated outdoor education program which focused on getting high school students into the out of doors.  Each year, he would lead his students on canoe trips into Killarney or Temagami ranging from 11 to 16 days. John continues to help teachers who are trying to introduce students to paddling.  He is an ORCKA CT Level 3 instructor and currently sits on the ORCKA Board as Chair of Schools.

Phil Matsushita | GKP Co-founder

Phil recently retired as an Administrator from the Durham District School Board and continues to do contract work with the  Health+Safety Department and the virtual secondary school.  He is also a sessional instructor with the Faculty of Education at Ontario Tech University.   As a CT and CSP canoe instructor, Phil continues to advocate for paddling opportunities in the school system and certifies teachers annually to build capacity in the system.