Why is Get Kids Paddling needed now more than ever?
Recently we posed the question, Why Get Kids Paddling?
Why Get Kids Paddling?
By Beth Dasno | Outdoor Educator & Mother
I just returned from a 10-day trip with my husband and 2 children (aged 7 & 10) in the St. Raphael area, north of Savant Lake and south of Pickle Lake. Following this wonderful family adventure, I’m keen to respond to your question, “Why Get Kids Paddling?”
As a high school teacher, one of my favourite subjects to teach is outdoor education and a highlight of these courses is always the canoe training and tripping. The benefits of teaching kids to paddle are numerous:
- it promotes team work, quickly driving home the importance of clear communication
- building paddling skills is a great way to increase confidence and a sense of responsibility in kids
- in our screen-driven world, exposing kids to this fun, healthy, outdoor activity can introduce a new hobby and inspire positive lifestyle changes
- canoe tripping challenges participants to deal with adversity, builds grit and generally results in a great sense of accomplishment
From a parent’s perspective, canoeing is a fundamental part of my family’s summer experience. I started canoeing with my own children (now 7 and 10) before they each reached their first birthdays. They have grown to love this time and ask for it each year. I can think of few other experiences that require a family to work together as a unit and allow for such rich bonding as a canoe trip. The reasons I take my own children paddling can’t all be listed here, but some key ones include:
- immersing children in wilderness settings results in authentic learning about local flora, fauna, weather and the interrelationships that exist in forest/river/lake ecosystems
- life slows down and allows time for playing guessing games, making bracelets, reading about insects, catching, cleaning and eating walleye.
- developing and growing practical skills like maneuvering a boat safely in headwinds, setting up a safe camp, building fires, tying knots are all so useful throughout life
- developing an appreciation for our National Heritage and the First Nations people that developed this most incredible craft.
- quality time chatting, singing, paddling together in silence and just being together as a family unit is extremely valuable.
My wish is that every Canadian child could have the experience to go on a wilderness canoe trip.
Thanks for posing the question. It’s nice to have time to reflect on this as is truly is a passion and always a bit sad to get off the water. “