Field experience is necessary to develop leaders. There are plenty of books that talk about leadership styles, but you can never substitute being on the water observing someone in a leadership role and participating in decision making.
- Christopher Lockyer, Sea Kayak Instructor Trainer (Nova Scotia)
Mentors must consistently demonstrate positive leadership skills, offer opportunities to assume group responsibilities and provide guided reflection and sincere feedback.
- Mark Lund, Waterfront Instructor Trainer (Alberta)
Think of the decision that will benefit the group best instead of just the leader.
- Nick Castro, Sea Kayak Instructor (British Columbia)
Your Learning "Break Through" Moment
We always put ourselves in the learners shoes when we teach paddling. I want you to think back to the most important "break through" moment you had when learning to paddle and tell us about it.
Learning to roll. My friend, Mark, and I had spent hours around his kitchen table talking about the technique and trying to visualize how to roll. When we thought we finally had it figured out, we headed for the lake. We tried our Pawlatta rolls again, but still without success. We took a break on the beach, a little frustrated.While I was chatting with friends, Mark snuck back on the water with his kayak. As I watched, he began to set up for a roll, but this time he set up for a screw roll. His paddle arced across the water surface and he flew up out of the water on his first attempt! He did another one and I jumped in my kayak and tried a screw roll too. Presto! It worked for me! I was thrilled. We were both finally rolling.
Submitted by: Gary Doran, Instructor-Trainer ( Victoria, BC)
Once upon a time pivots were my sticking point. I was working for Manitoba Pioneer Camp where they had two sections of dock that were about the right distance apart for the manoeuvre. Despite attempt after attempt, I was hit and miss. Sometimes they were spot on, other times I hit the dock. It was going to be total luck if I could do them when the instructor trainer came to call. In the end, what brought me to that next level was totally relaxing and letting go. Not watching the dock or the corridor, but looking up and noticing the trees, the lake, the environment around me. Just being in that moment, when the IT was watching someone else, made me relax and release control enough that the paddling just naturally happened. It was a huge step for me in terms going from paddling being technical and precise to the intuition, freedom and art of it.
Submitted by: Catherine Holmen, Instructor ( Winnipeg, MB)
When I realized that if both the bow paddler and stern paddler were doing technically perfect forward strokes, the canoe would always turn to the bow paddler’s side. That is why the stern paddler needs to learn corrective strokes. So it was not my fault that the canoe was going in circles. It will happen to everyone if there is no correction stroke added.
Submitted by: Mike Crowtz, Instructor (Truro, NS)