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Graham’s Gab – Executive Director Update

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Graham’s Gab – Executive Director Update – Paddle Canada

Fall, like spring, is a busy time in the office with different activities and events. As most of you wind down your paddling seasons, the PC office ramps up. Also the PC Directors and Committees are in full swing planning activities and budgets for 2018. We are at about 2109 instructor members (down slightly from 2200 in in 2016 season) and 46 individual members (down about 50% over 2016). This is still at an all time high number compared to the last 10 years.

Nathan (PC admin staff) and I will be travelling to Pickering, ON this weekend for a one day GetKidsPaddling conference. The schools in Ontario are increasingly cancelling all on water activities including paddling, due to the perceived high risk and restrictive guidelines of lifeguards and swim tests. We are working the committee GetKidsPaddling with members of ORCKA at the lead along with other school outdoor ed teachers. We hope to find positive solutions as a result of the series of public engagement sessions with school boards and risk management decision makers. Long term, this process and associated solutions could be shared with other provinces that have similar challenges like Quebec and Nova Scotia.

In November, Dawn (Coordinator, PaddleSmart & Events) and I will be in Winnipeg, Manitoba attending SARSCENE, a search and rescue conference with other AdventureSmart and PaddleSmart partners and supporters. PaddleSmart is entering the last five months of a three year project. Wherever did those three busy years go. We are indebted to the Government of Canada (Public Safety Canada) for their continued support.

Speaking of PaddleSmart, the last month we have been busy at the office putting the finishing touches on another grant application, PaddleSmart Next Gen (2018-2021) which, if successful, will see more workshop and training capacity, enhanced National Paddling Week, media campaigns, materials distributed to members, paddling rental businesses and retailers. It will also serve to meet a growing demand especially from schools and camps, who want to build the PaddleSmart messaging into their own programs. One exciting new partnership is with Duke of Edinburgh which will see 16,000 youth exposed to PaddleSmart program by 2019 and many more beyond that annually.

In December I will be attending Transport Canada’s Canadian Marine Advisory Council stakeholder meetings in Ottawa. We will be meeting with many recreational and safe boating partners and discussing successes, challenges and threats to boating on our national waterways. One topic of particular interest is learning more about the process of any level of government seeking permission to restrict certain types of boating activities in a particular waterway region for one reason or another. This can also impact paddlers in future restricted areas of Canada.

The PC committees are busy reformatting and revising instructor resources. Over the winter for spring delivery:
The SUP manual will go through a slight update and then will be translated into French.
The Sea Kayak manual will be completely re-written and then slated for French translation next year.
The Moving Water and Lake Canoe Manuals are getting updated to make them more user friendly.
A new Camping program is being written under the direction from the Program Coordination Committee.
A refresh and update of the Instructor Resource manual is being done.
The Canoe PDC is seeking more teaching strokes video clips from members to post and share.
Planning for Instructor Trainer conference calls are underway for mid winter.

Thanks to all the Program Development Committees and their continued dedication and hard work on all these and future projects.

A new Facebook page for Quebec instructor members was launched and more support of francophone resources are delivered at the request of the Quebec director Darren Keith representing the 229 or more members in Quebec not to mention other francophone members in other parts of Canada.

Updates to members website continue this fall with:
fixes to invoicing recently completed to instructor courses when fees are paid by organization (course director).
Over the winter Paddling Association members will once again have ability to register their trips.
Kayak Rolling Find A Course and Find An Instructor
Refresh on the navigation of resources and file names in the Instructor Resources area (manuals for download)
Ability for Course Directors to edit participant information when adding them to a course (when they pre-exist already from past courses in the database)

And finally, some new instructor announcements will soon be coming your way about some exciting new Purchase programs with some great paddling companies along with some business support advice on creation and use of your own business waivers for the paddling industry.

If you have any questions, or comments about please get in touch. You can reach me at [email protected]

Happy Fall Paddling

Graham Ketcheson
Executive Director – Paddle Canada