We can do something
Posted by: MMF on Oct-10-12 9:24 AM (EST)
Nine ACKC members paddled the Econfina Creek in the Florida Panhandle this Sunday, all over 55. Article confirmed. Free public ramp difficult for kayakers to put-in so we put-in at an outfitter's for $5 a boat.(See Tania's article on floating docks and entry/exit technique.)
Trailer with 5 or more canoes and several cars drove in; a swarm of little kids 4-12 pouring out with about 4 sets of parents. "Does it cost to launch" "Yea" "How much" "5 bucks per boat" Pause. "Is there a free launch nearby?"
We sent them to the free water management launch site downriver. They didn't do the off river paddles to springs, so we saw them about 2/3's of the way downriver, swimming in the shallows and having a great time. At the crowded take-out we had a chance to talk with the kids. "You think you'd like to be able to paddle your own kayaks, someday?" "Yea..." enthusiastically. There's hope.
Paddling clubs could put aside one day a year (we have 12 months of paddling in Florida, so it's easy for us to be generous) for families with kids this age, giving lessons and making canoes available for free or for a low cost or maybe partnering with an outfitter. Those of us with canoes which we never use, could give them to a young family, making sure that we teach them how to use it and taking them out with us when the paddles would be suitable. How about a grandparents day of club paddling. Many of us are too far away from our own grand kids, but we could adopt a family for grandparent's day. Lots of possibilities for getting kids into paddling. May not take a village to raise a paddler; we all can do our part.
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