P7300065Starting the last week of July through the end of August, the Spokane Whitewater community spent time giving back to others and sharing the sport of kayaking. Below are three recaps of such events that took place.

Paddle, Splash and Play
On July 30th the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club along with Mt. Gear and Spokane Parks & Recs brought together as much self-propelled water equipment to Nine Mile Recreation Area for a FREE kid’s event called Paddle, Splash & Play. The idea behind the event was to introduce the great world of self-propelled water sports to kids. Spokane is a great play for this type of recreation because we are surrounded by so much water. It is great exercise and a wonderful way to cool off during the hot summer months. We also slipped in some water safety so kids could learn how to stay safe on the water. The volunteers were constantly busy from 10am -3pm helping kids try canoes, whitewater kayaks, seakayaks, recreational kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
It truly was a great day and look forward to it again next year.
Celene Olgeirsson

Camp Goodtimes
Camp Goodtimes is a free weeklong camp for children that have or have had cancer. On Thursday August 4th members of the local whitewater community and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club met out at Camp Goodtimes. All were ready to for a fun day of kayaking with the campers. This has been an annual event for years and this year the program was expanded to 2 sessions. The first session was in the morning with 15 campers and after lunch there was a second session with 21 campers participating. It is hard to tell who is having more fun, the campers or the mentors. All participants are taught the basic skills of kayaking and water safety. After the basics are taken care of on shore it is time get out on the open flat water with a mentor and have some fun. To finish up the day is an exciting game of kayak water polo.
This event could not happen without the support of the local kayakers and Hydrology Kayak School. Thanks and we look forward to next year.
Terry Miller

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Veterans Retreat
The BTYR Retreat is a four day retreat planned and put on by the Spokane Veterans Center and the Firefighters of Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 8. The event is designed to show community appreciation for our returning veterans as well as to provide a peer support network that will help them overcome physical and psychological injuries.
To learn more click the link belowand check out an article about the first BTYR.
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/sep/05/combat-vets-find-support-peers/

On August 30th the vets came out from lunch and saw two trailers on the beach of Deer Lake. Each was loaded down with equipment donated by Mountain Gear, Mountain Goat Outfitters and Hydrology Kayak School. Kayakers from the local Spokane paddling community, Hydrology Kayak School, and Fairchild Air force Base Outdoor Recreation Program were all present to help make the afternoon fun and safe. This year there were over 18 veterans present and they had their choice of a flat water lake paddle or an intro to whitewater kayak class. Those that chose to climb in a lake/recreational kayak were given a basic safety briefing and headed out onto the scenic Deer Lake. They were accompanied by firefighters and safety kayakers while following a plotted GPS route. The goal is to locate and gather enough playing cards for a game of poker back at the cabin. Those that chose to take on the challenge of learning the basics of whitewater kayaking were treated to an introductory class at the beach. The vets were quick to pick up on the basics and quickly went into a competitive game of kayak polo. They earned their poker hand by performing T-Rescue maneuvers and scoring points for their team. Each participant earned a full hand and the two groups joined together for a fun game of poker.
The weather was great this year and we look forward to next year’s event.
Steve Bailey