About a month ago I took an ACA certification course with Sam Drevo at Enrg Kayaking. While I was there I met a lot of amazing people. One who I connected with right away was Cheri Holman. Cheri was very exuberant and all about getting people into the sport. I shared with her my idea of going to the local high schools with a fleet of boats and giving the kids a chance to kayak in a controlled environment such as the school pools. My son Jeffery’s swim coach approached me at the beginning of the year about doing an event at the pool and after speaking with Dave Slover at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe, the boats were chosen and the day before the event, I picked up the boats and added them to our fleet. Early the next morning, Cheri and her 14 year old daughter Claire met me at the pool and we staged all the boats and gear and set up several tables with books, brochures and gear for the students to look at while they were waiting their turn to paddle.
At about 9:30 am, the students started to arrive and Jeffery joined us. Once we got them all settled, we had introductions, a short safety talk and watched a short video. By the time we finished, the kids were getting restless and we proceeded to get everyone in the water. We had a total of 10 different watercraft from fishing kayaks to a SUP. All of the watercraft were manufactured by Jackson Kayak and some were provided by Alder Creek and Enrg Kayaking. Since our hometown of Longview is such a huge outdoor community we decided to include a fishing kayak and an SUP in the fleet and the choices did not disappoint. The kids were very interested in the SUP as well as Jeffery’s Rockstar. About halfway through the day, I realized we were having a very successful day. The kids were laughing, playing bumper boats and keeping things safe. We even set up a mock waterfall of the bleachers to simulate a boof. Michael Stratton, our paddling buddy from Longview, just returned from South America and stopped by to help with the last class.
At the end of the day, we were exhausted but very satisfied with the results. We got kids into kayaks and gave them information on were to go to get outfitted and educated. Alder Creek is having a Spring Paddle Festival this weekend so we passed out information on that event. A huge shout out to Alder Creek, Jackson Kayak, Enrg Kayaking, and World Kayak for all the support. A monstrous thank you to Cheri, Claire, Jeffery and Michael for helping to pull this off.