Paddling Skills

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Rick Gruchy
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Paddling Skills

Post by Rick Gruchy » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:26 pm

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Let's talk Paddling Skills! Share your experiences.

http://www.scouts.ca/canadianpath/downl ... lls-en.pdf

Hawkeye3
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Hawkeye3 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:29 am

I have a problem with paddling skills. In the fall, I want to take the Cubs canoeing. The plan was to do some training in the morning to familiarize Cubs with canoes and let the Cubs paddle in the afternoon around a quiet, small lake.

Problems are:
  • Leaders want one leader per canoe. We don't have enough leaders for this
  • There is concern that there may be youth who don't feel comfortable canoeing.
  • The Beaver leader is NOT interested in participating with the Beavers in a controlled area along the shore (see paddling skills level 4)
Risk mitigation includes:
  • PFDs / Lifejackets
  • One leader is a lifeguard
  • Training plan for the morning to build comfort with canoes and water
  • Leaders positioned for quick rescue if required
It seems like I am the only leader in my pack who thinks that canoeing with Cubs is a good idea. My fellow leaders are decent outdoors people. All of the above seems to be in the Canadian Path for Paddling Skills. Is anyone else running into issues where Canadian Path skills are beyond what leaders feel is appropriate? The above is only Canadian Path Paddling Skills level 3.

Sam Wallis
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Sam Wallis » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:42 am

Hawkeye, for years I wanted to take our pack canoeing. No dice, the leaders lacked confidence in the idea. So it didn't happen, I for a while was the new guy in. change Akela, twice, and I was more well known to the leaders, and among the most seasoned, suddenly, its a good idea. we did our training the evening we got to camp, so that we were paddling in the am, when there would likely be less wind.

KIDS LOVED IT!!!!

we placed the youth that we felt would either have the hardest time with the activity in canoes with leaders. those that had ever seen a canoe, or worked better independently went 2-3 to a canoe.

We split the pack, as the camp we were at had 3 canoes accessible. 2 leaders went canoeing. It was wonderful

I suggest talking the above thru. If some of your leaders wanted to call me to discuss I would be open to it, even just to reassure them that someone else did it. Or take the leaders paddling and show them what you would do.

add to your kit a tow rope in case you need to help them find shore, although once you show them a few strokes its fairly easy. we went down the shore maybe 1 km and back. For reference, the lake was sylvan lake, home of the last CJ.
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

Rick Gruchy
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Rick Gruchy » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:18 am

First off, thanks for posting. This is exactly the type of discussion I was hoping we could generate here . . . it seems far more civilized than Facebook. :lol:

Like Sam, I have been able to get my Cub Pack out on the water several times now. The Cubs LOVE it. Personally, I love taking the Cubs paddling because it is an activity where I can see almost immediate growth and gains in self confidence in the Cubs. I will never forget one 8 year old boy who was quite scared about getting in a Canoe just calm down as soon as he was in the boat and by the end of our evening paddle he was full of confidence and pride, eager to paddle again. At our last camp when we had some paddle time, this Cub (now 10) was the first with his PFD on and into a Canoe. This is why I do this!

So Hawkeye, as far as I am concerned, your plan makes perfect sense and you have your risk management plan seems good. Sam's suggestion of a tow rope is really good, in fact each boat should have one. Also (and I think you know this) talk about your float plan with your Scouters and with the Cubs. In this case, I expect that it would be very simple - staying within a designated area or following the shore line for a short distance. Regardless, reviewing your float plan is an important skill to model for Cubs prior to getting into boats. (Something that I forgot to do at our last camp, but I'll save that story for another day :oops: )

Helping your team of Scouters gain the confidence to do this kind of activity is another problem. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- As Sam suggested, get your Scouters out in the Canoes with out the kids to help them get more comfortable with it. Make it an adult only event and have a "Pop" after you finish while you review a plan for the Cubs.
- See if you can get some of your team some training. Our group was able to get a Paddle Canada instructor to run the Lakeside Instructor Course for us for free. He wanted to log some training hours and borrow our canoes so it was a win/win for everyone. I know, we were lucky. ;)
- Finally, and this is a last resort, many pools will allow you to rent the pool and bring canoes in. I have done this to teach assisted and unassisted rescue to Scouts and it was surprisingly affordable (like $120 for two hours) but that depends on the pool. It was a very fun afternoon. OAS Paddling Skills Stage One was written so that it could be completed in a Pool. This may make you Scouter Team feel more comfortable.

Finally, don't get too caught up in the OAS Paddling Skills yet. It sounds to me like your Scouters are not quite ready for it. Instead (and this was the intention of the team that wrote the Paddling Skills) focus on getting the younger sections out in boats. Then, after you have had your paddling day, review with your Cubs what they did, then you can help them identify what they need to do the next time to complete a stage. That said, I suspect that the day you have planned could easily have each Cub in attendance complete Stage One.

Hawkeye3
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Hawkeye3 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:57 pm

Thanks Rick and Sam,
I shared your responses with the team. It's summer and e-mail is involved so I am only getting minimal responses.

Rick, one resource you may want to share is Clarke Green: http://scoutmastercg.com/developing-you ... -fire-aim/. He really nailed this one. This would be great to use for some of the adventure skills.

Rick Gruchy
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Rick Gruchy » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:13 am

Great Article!

Hawkeye3
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Hawkeye3 » Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:34 pm

Quick follow up... we are going canoeing. The plan is scaled back and does not involve Beavers. But, we are going.

Fortunately, my GC also removed the swim test. Having the Cubs swim before boating all day (remain in wet PFDs all day) was a bad idea to begin with.

Plan is to have a Scout do some early morning teaching, spend some time getting familiar with the canoes and then go for lunch. In the afternoon, in lairs, plan where to canoe to. Go and return followed by free time and supper.

IFF things go well, some Cubs may canoe to an island (visible from shore) and sleep there under tarps. We'll see how it goes.

Sam Wallis
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Sam Wallis » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:41 pm

Great stuff. I want my cubs to get into more sleeping under tarps type stuff. hopefully this spring...
Let us know how it goes
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

Hawkeye3
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Re: Paddling Skills

Post by Hawkeye3 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:14 pm

Paddling Update:
We went paddling this past weekend and it went well. Positives:
Saturday morning, we did some familiarization training in war canoes. That was nice and helpful
Saturday afternoon, we broke into Lairs and paddled in the lake (normal canoes). Howlers chose where to paddle to, Scouters followed. Good adventures. 1/2 the youth made it to and explored the island which was super cool.

Lessons Learned:
Skill and strength difference. Some youth weren't as strong as others. Next time, instead of Lairs, I think breaking into Runner / Tracker / Howler would be better. Many of the younger ones held the older ones back, some of the older ones paddled too far from the Lairs.

Saturday afternoon was kept as "relaxing". Youth were given the chance to decide in Lairs where to canoe to. There was no "death march" or "death paddle" (e.g. you MUST canoe to the island). Some youth did the bare minimum before coming back to play on the beach. Some went all out and paddled for a long time.

Overall, I would go again.

BTW, even the Beavers went canoeing. They took the war canoes in the afternoon with their parents. That went very well from what I heard.

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