A group of keen GWS Scouts, Ventures and Leaders took to the water over the weekend of 14/15 November 2015 to earn their Scout canoeing qualifications.
On Saturday at Lake Parramatta, the Scouts learnt basic paddling skills and techniques of how to manoeuvre a boat. They all did very well and were ready to take on a bigger challenge the next day. To earn their Scout Section awards, after learning and practicing the basics, the participants take part in a canoeing journey.
Traditionally Scouts use Canadian Canoes on their trips. To add some variety to the workshops, PaddleNSW came along to Putney Beach on the Parramatta River on Sunday so the Scouts could “test drive” sit on top kayaks and get to meet and chat with some of our local legends in paddle sports.
The Scouts and Venturers were given a demonstration on how to paddle a kayak by Anjie Lees (24 hour paddling world record holder) and Jo Brigden-Jones (Australian canoe sprint representative and 2012 Olympian). They all picked up the different paddling technique really quickly. The canoe guides, workshop participants, Anjie and Jo then set off down Parramatta River for a 10km paddle. Half the group were in canoes and half were paddling the sit on top kayaks. The journey took the paddlers from Putney to Ermington. A lunch stop, rest and stretch was needed by all. The scouts swapped around boats so they all had a chance to paddle a kayak or canoe. The return journey back to Putney was tough as the wind picked up creating choppy water. All the Scouts handled the conditions very well. As we arrived back at our base, many of the Scouts were pretty tired from their long paddle. Each of the Scouts was rewarded with a Scout canoe qualification. Most of the Scouts participating did enough paddling to achieve the requirements for their Pioneer or Explorer Water Activities badge. They now need to finish off by learning a few knots back at their section meeting.
Two Venturers who are keen to complete their SIS qualifications in Canoeing and Kayaking came along to the workshops and demonstrated skills in both canoe and kayak. Mikalya Ozols and James Dakkache are undertaking their SIS qualifications to assist their Group 1st /2nd Merrylands to run more canoeing activities for their Members. Mikayla is showing great talent in a kayak and since this weekend has been attending a number of GWS Canoe Workshops as an assistant. She has also developed sufficient skills to try out a K1 sprint racing boat with great results. BRAVOOO.
It was great to see the enthusiasm from the Scouts to try new things, work together and help each other out. Many of them showed solid interest in paddling and we hope to see them doing some more paddling with their Groups. For those keen to develop their kayak paddling, they could contact PaddleNSW to find out information about joining a local paddling club to further develop their paddling skills and to continue to have fun out on the water. Contact PaddleNSW www.paddlensw.org.au for details of local kayak clubs or have a chat with me if you see me around.