Why “Get Kids Paddling” ?

Why is Get Kids Paddling needed now more than ever?

Recently we posed the question, Why Get Kids Paddling?

We will post the question again, but for now here are two answers: one from an 82 year-old, grandfather; the other, a mother and teacher.

Why Get Kids Paddling?
By Dave Goldman | GKP Co-Founder

As much as possible, I want to get Canadian kids paddling, especially those two million plus, aged 14 to 19.


When my first grandchild was born 15 years ago, I wondered what it meant to be a good grandfather. My own grandfathers had died before I knew them, so I decided to get some books from the library and read up.

There were all kinds of books on grandparenting written by grandmothers, mainly for grandmothers, but nothing much for grandfathers. Nothing for sale either. I began doing some intensive research and even took a writing course with the flitting thought that I might have to write the consummate book myself.

Over time however, the answer has come to me in the form of the Canadian canoe trip.

Here’s what I believe.

If I can have my grandkids experience the equivalent of 3 months canoe tripping during their adolescent years, I will have done my job as a good grandfather. During that time they will not only learn to paddle under many conditions, they will learn how to camp, cook, shop, stay warm, predict weather, read maps and compasses, enjoy portages, and songs, and learn how to choose good footwear.

They will also learn how to be part of a team, how to follow, and lead, and listen. And handle dispute. They will learn about our geography and flora and fauna, and our history, good and bad. And in the process they will have had the unique Canadian experience, the Canadian canoe trip: our Canadian rite of passage.

And if I can help them have those experiences, I will have done my job as a good grandfather, because those are life skills. And if those skills are good for my grandkids, I believe they would be good for other Canadian kids too. That’s my thinking. I’d love to read yours…