Back at the end of January I had the pleasure to be invited to attend a strategic planning meeting for Paddle Canada. I got invited because I’m the Chair of the Sea Kayak Program Development Committee. The goal of the weekend meeting was to develop a 3-year plan and it already had a catchy title: Float Plan for Success.
The reason for the meeting came about because the Board of Directors felt the organization was just about to enter a new phase in the life of the Organization. For those who studied the long and sometimes weird boring history of Paddle Canada will remember several years ago when the Organization had major financial trouble that left it hanging on for dear life. Thanks to good leadership at the top who made some tough choices, Paddle Canada has come back stronger than ever and is now ready to tackle some new projects.
Overall the weekend was a lot of fun (as fun as strategy development can be I guess) and filled with lots of fellow paddling policy wonks nerds like me who were happy to chat the days (and evenings) away talking about how to turn all Canadians into paddlers.
A couple of days ago Executive Director, Graham Ketcheson posted a finished report about some of the changes you will see over the next 3-4 years. If you are bored already the short summary is that the new strategic plan isn’t ground breaking but it is a change in direction for the organization.
Here are a couple of highlights:
1) New Vision and Mission Statements
The new Vision and Mission Statements have a stronger focus on the development of its paddling instructional programs and the development of complementary partnerships with other organizations.
2) Strategic Priorities and Goals
After hours of brainstorming as a group we boiled down the ideas into four major categories which are Public Awareness & Membership, Youth, Partnerships and Instructor Development.
That does this all mean for Paddle Canada?
There are a couple of advantages to formalizing a strategic plan. As I mentioned earlier, none of these were ground-breaking revelations or direction changes. What it does do is to make sure that the members of the Board of Directors are on board with the new plan and everybody has bought in. The second (and more important) outcome of it is that the Board has developed a clear set of “marching orders” for the Executive Director to take and figure out how to implement over the next 3-4 years. This gives him a lot more freedom to work with people and grab the opportunities as they come along without wondering what the board thinks about this new direction.
What does this mean for you as a member or instructor member?
It means that there is going to be a whole lot more work coming down the pipe for the volunteers so we will need your help. If you have 10 minutes of free time on your hands and are interested in helping out, get in touch with Graham and he can set you up.
More info: paddlecanada.com
Not sure if anybody noticed it or not but buried at the bottom of the latest Paddle
This goes along with all the other discounts available from companies like Red Cross, Sirius Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medical Associates, Northwater, Outdoor Research, and Level Six.
Sadly the Keen deal is only limited to one pair of shoes each year so choose wisely. You can find all the details on the Paddle Canada website.
I wanted to let Paddle Canada sea kayak and SUP instructors know that the deadline for the training bursary is fast approaching and you only have until the end of March, 2012 to get your application in.
From the Paddle Canada website:
For several years now Paddle Canada has been awarding bursaries to instructors looking to further the sea kayaking and SUP programs in Canada. The intention is to help defray certification or travel costs for instructors coming from or organizing courses in underfunded areas throughout Canada.
There isn't a huge pilce of cash to give away but $300 for sea kayak instructors and $500 for SUP instructors will go a little way towards covering your transportation costs.
If you are interested, take a look at the links below for the fine print and application details.
After keeping it under my hat for four months (a record for me), I’m finally able to announce that after 30+ years, Paddle Canada has decided to get out of the magazine publishing industry and shut down Kanawa magazine. Instead, Paddle Canada has decided to partner with Rapid Media and offer their collection of magazines to its members. Rapid Media puts out Rapid, Canoeroots, Adventure Kayak and Kayak Angler.
I think that this is a fantastic partnership for a couple of reasons. Firstly it allows Paddle Canada to finally dump Kanawa magazine which I have not been a huge fan of for quite a while. To me it has been limping along on life-support for several years. Of course it goes without saying that it’s always sad to see any magazine die, especially a magazine that has been around for 30 years. But not to worry; they are going to publish Kanawa as a quarterly newsletter that will come inserted in the Rapid Media magazine of your choice.
This partnership is also a win for both organizations because for the first time they are no longer in direct competition with each other. Fir the first time they can work together on projects for the betterment of paddling in Canada. The brainstorming has already started I have heard rumours of several future projects that have awesome potential but we can chat about them on another day.
Rapid Media is no stranger to partnering with other paddling organizations. Right around this time last year they announced a very similar partnership when the American Canoe Association decided to stop publication of their 20-year-old magazine, Paddler.
Full disclosure, I’m quite involved with both groups so I’m completely biased but had no say in any decisions. I sit as chair of the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Program Development Committee and do some web design for Rapid Media.
If you are looking to get some more sea kayak training under your belt before the 2011 paddling season ends, check out the duo certification course going on this October in
The first 3 days will be spend on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia working on navigation, rock hopping, on water leadership, surfing and tidal paddling.
The last 2 days will be spent on the Shubie tidal bore learning about advanced tidal paddling, rescues, tide race paddling and more leadership activities.
The coaching staff includes Scott Cunningham (Paddle Canada Level 4 Instructor Trainer), Christopher Lockyer aspirant level 4 coach and guest coach Nick Cunliffe who is a BCU level 5 sea coach.
Nick’s name might be familiar. He is the same coach on the Kayak Essential’s kayak instruction DVD series that I reviewed last week.
If you are interested in participating, you had better jump on it soon as registration closes August 25th and there are currently only two spots left.
The cost is $900 which includes food, camping, a course manual, Paddle
There is the registration info.
Photo credit: committed2thecore.com
Starting now, instructor members will now get a 10% discount on all wilderness medicine course fees as well as 20% discount on all first aid supplies purchased through the Canadian Red Cross online store.
I think this is a fantastic addition to the program which has grown exponentially over the past year and a bit. Paddle Canada instructor members also get discounts from Northwater, Outdoor Research, Level Six as well as a discounted camping rate at the American Canoe Association's Sugar Island, on the St. Lawrence River in Ontario.
You can find all the details around instructor members benefits on the Paddle Canada website.
Congrats to Graham and his little team of volunteers for putting this together.
My friend Graham was digging around through some off-site storage at the Paddle Canada world headquarters when he stumbled upon a box of ancient VHF tapes labelled Canoe Canada. For the young kids out there; VHS was a format long before DVD’s that was good for movie rentals or to record that episode of The Dukes of Hazard you missed because you had to work Friday nights at McDonalds. But I digress...
Not owning an actual VHS player; Graham shipped it off to the closest person he knew who had one which actually happened to be ½ way across the Canada in Alberta. The video was converted over to DVD and uploaded for your viewing pleasure.
Canoe Canada was a ½ instruction ½ canoe promotion video that was funded by Paddle Canada and the Canadian National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
Not sure of the exact date but we figure that Canoe Canada was produced in around the very late 1980’s or early 1990’s so it’s a great opportunity to see some really classic camping and paddling gear. I haven’t seen so much plaid jackets and bushy beards since...well, yesterday since they are both back in style with the cool kids here in Toronto.
Here is the intro below to whet your appetite. When you are done, click through to the Paddle Canada site to see the last three parts. It’s some classic footage indeed.
Special thanks to Costain for filling me in on a really great expedition going on right now. Several Paddle Canada sea kayak and white water instructors got together and organized a three month trip paddling from Beachburg, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia via several rivers including the Ottawa River, St. Lawrence River and the St. John River. The total distance will be almost 1500km (including 216km which will be done on bicycle). The best part of the trip is that 0km will be done using gas.
The Paddle to the Ocean expedition has several purposes. Firstly it is a memorial for Corey Morris who died on a Nova Scotia river in 2009. Corey always encouraged people to get outside and be active which leads into their second goal for the expedition. They are raising funds and awareness for the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) and the Nova Scotia Heart & Stroke Foundation (NS H&SF). The Making Tracks (EAC) program is a program designed to encourage parents & children to walk & bike to school & throughout their community and the Heart & Stroke Walkabout (NS H&SF) is a provincial initiative designed to teach people how to walk more in their daily lives.
All funds raised by Paddle to the Ocean will be split between these two programs.
Like every good expedition, they are using filmmaking to help tell the story. The trip started back on May 1 and they have just posted their first update which you can view below. The short film has them paddling down the Ottawa River ploughing through the Class IV white water in a sea kayak. You need to see it to believe it.
For those looking to get kayaking instruction this season there are several very interesting courses taking place in my neck of the woods that I thought I would pass along.
Coming up this June here in Toronto, Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak center is running a pilot program partnering with SKILS to offer a Day Guide program (Guide Level 1) from the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC (SKGABC). This is the first time that this type of program has been run out of British Columbia.
The 5-day program looks pretty solid and would appeal to anybody who is taking people out on the water. SKGABC certification has international recognition including places like New Zealand, Denmark and South America so if you are the working/traveling type, the certification card has traction in those parts as well.
More info: paddletoronto.com (1/2 way down the page)
If guiding isn’t your thing but you are interested in intermediate kayaking skills why not join Bonnie Perry and myself in Wawa, Ontario this August. We are putting on again a joint Paddle Canada Level 2 and BCU 3* program at Naturally Superior Adventures on the north shore of Lake Superior.
Bonnie and I were talking on the phone just the other day howling with laughter while remembering the good times from last year. Bonnie says that she has a whole new batch of jokes ready to go. I’m still on my jokes greatest hits tour so you are going to hear my recycled gems at least three times over the week.
If you interested the Naturally Superior Adventures blog has info as well as a great collection of photos from last year.
learntokayak.ca is hosting several exciting sea kayaking skill development courses this season including two Paddle Canada Level 3 courses running out of Byng Inlet in Georgian Bay. If you are taking vacation in Spring jump on their course in May or else ask your boss for extra time off in early October.
Level 3 is a fantastic course and is aimed at intermediate paddlers who want to develop their rough water paddling skills. It starts to get into topics with a lot more detail inclding incident management, leadership, multi-day trip planning and advanced navigation.
Here are the course details if you are keen.
Finally if you are busy in both June and August then book time off in October when White Squall Paddling Center in Parry Sound, Ontario will be offering a Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor course.
This advanced instructor course is being held in conjunction with the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering (which you should be coming to anyways!) and taught by two of Ontario’s best instructors, Greg Mason and Graham Ketcheson (who also happens to be Paddle Canada’s executive director).
If you are interested in signing up, contact White Squall and they can give you all the details about the course.
Friend of the site and fellow P&H/Kokatat team member, Christopher Lockyer from Committed 2 the Core recently announced two really interesting programs he is running out of his amazing paddling backyard (also known as Nova Scotia).
On July 21-25 Committed 2 the Core is running a joint Paddle Canada Level 2/3 and a BCU 4* sea kayaking course. John Camody (level 5 BCU coach) who hails from Maine will be coming in as a guest instructor to help things out. I love the course description: Thick fog, plenty of coastal islands and the Bay of Fundy tides. What else could you ask for?
The other one that will be of particular interest to the advanced paddlers out there is the Paddle Canada Level 4/BCU 5* Training course running October 1-5. The course starta on Easter Shore in Nova Scotia then after a couple of days everybody moves up to the Shubie tidal bore for some rough water training. Nick Cunliffe (BCU Level 5 coach) is flying in from Wales to help out with that one.
You can get more info on the courses on their website.
Christopher is also one of the organizers of the Atlantic Paddle Symposium taking place in Newfoundland this May. As I mentioned before, I’m super excited to be teaching at it as I have wanted to go to Newfoundland for many years.
I recently heard that registration for the event is selling out at a blistering pace so if you were thinking of attending and haven’t registered yet you had better jump on that soon or you will be left out in the cold.
Top photo: Paul Kuthe on the Shubie. Credit by Committed 2 the Core