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I have to admit it: it seems just the teensiest bit as if summer is… okay, I’ll just say it… over.  It’s not the back-to-school stuff in the stores (which has been up since July anyway) or the recent crisp nights, it’s that for me summer is all about the Museum’s Paddling Camps — and we’ve just said goodbye to our last campers for the year.

Our five weeks of camp saw over 50 paddlers learning new paddling skills and earning ORCKA certifications, with 23 new paddlers earning Level 1 badges, and our returning campers achieving 12 level 2s, five level 3s and seven Tripping 1A certifications. Plus five intrepid and very dedicated campers took us up on our new camp offering this year — the Level 4 ORCKA option, achieving their solo canoe certifications in just one week — no small achievement (can YOU paddle a canoe on your own in a straight line backwards?).  But badge stats aside, that’s a whole lot of kids with water safety and paddling skills they can use to enjoy the Canadian wilderness, or just a local river, their whole lives through. Read the rest of this entry »

The past year has been very hard on my family with the illness and passing of my sister.  My sister’s grandson (my nephew) had an especially hard time with her illness taking a turn for the worse on his 13th birthday which resulted in a cancelled party and no birthday celebration.  To lift his spirits I decided to enrol him in our Canoe Kids Camp.  He was so excited!  I even earned the title “The World’s Most Awesome Aunty”.

Jordan’s flight originated from Cranbrook, BC and he landed in Toronto on the Saturday before camp – his first solo flight and he even managed to make the connecting flight in Calgary.  This gave him a day to relax and prep for the start of camp.  The first day was at the museum where the participants not only meet their fellow paddlers but also get to tour the museum and do various other activities.

I am hoping that the miniature wannigan Jordan made is too big for his luggage and I get to keep it as an “Awesome Aunty” gift!

Jordan’s excitement level raised on the way to the Otonabee River for his first day on the water!  He dressed the part in his “paddler” t-shirt from the Museum’s Store and a knapsack full of gear.  Jordan enjoyed being out in the canoe and all participants passed the swimming test so no PFD’s were required for swimming.  The weather has really been cooperating and I hope it lasts for the rest of the week.

Well today is the third day of camp and Jordan’s enthusiasm is still growing.  He’s already pumped for a return trip next year for the advanced camp.  It is a great experience for him and he can return home and put his newly-learned techniques to use on Wasa Lake where he lives.  It’s unfortunate (or fortunate for me) that no one offers a similar opportunity in this region of BC – perhaps we should have a Canoe Museum branch in the area!

My only fear now is that he will be adding a canoe to his Christmas Wish List!  I guess I should buy one of our raffle tickets for the 16’ Cedar/Canvas Canoe that will be drawn October 13th – just in time for Christmas if he wins!

Everyone that has a young child in their life – son, daughter, nephew, niece, etc – should think about enrolling them in this program.  Jordan is having a great time and, although I am not supposed to tell his mother, “it’s even better than Hockey School”!