Kids love canoeing. It has been a favorite summer camp activity for decades of young campers. Gliding through silvery lake waters or down rippling rivers, these graceful craft get youngsters right down at water level, perfect for exploring intriguing inlets, crossing long lakes or just having a super water balloon battle. Since canoes need at least two paddlers, it’s the perfect time to chat, laugh or maybe even pipe up with a favorite camp song or two.
Like so many summer camp activities, canoeing is a great way to just be outdoors on the water and getting some exercise. Not only does canoeing serve as a great aerobic activity, it also improves balance, coordination, strength, agility, stamina and gross motor skills. The upper body and core muscles also get a great workout. Paddlers need to coordinate rhythmic paddling to keep a straight course and cover the most water.
Not all canoe trips go as planned. A rock can appear where there wasn’t supposed to be one. A branch may block the river or a sudden storm could pick up. With the help of trained, experienced boating instructors and their fellow paddlers, kids learn how to deal with unexpected obstacles and conditions, meeting challenges and growing as people as well as paddlers. Young canoers learn the value of hard work, persistence and determination while they’re getting a huge dose of fun!
Close to Nature
Unlike getting out on the lake for a fast water ski jaunt or a chance to turn some wakeboarding tricks, the peaceful world of paddling lets kids get right down to eye level with nature, enjoying a close look at the natural habitat of a host of birds and other local animals. It’s, of course, also a great fishing platform!
“Safety First”, as with all camp water activities, emphasizes that close attention is paid to safety. All paddlers are required to wear a personal floatation device and helmet, and camp waterfront instructors supervise all boating activities. Capsizing and man-overboard drills are held regularly and campers are taught how to look for warning signs of sudden changes in the weather or water conditions. Kids are required to reach a certain level of expertise before participating in longer expeditions.
Types of Canoeing Activities
Canoe trips at summer camp are geared to a variety of skill levels so that every camper can meet new challenges every year. Trips can range from overnight to two weeks of glorious exploring and camping, crossing wide lakes and winding down interconnecting waterways. Kids learn how to pack for a safe and comfortable trip and how to distribute weight in the canoe. Some camps also introduce youngsters to the exciting world of whitewater canoeing or combine canoeing with hiking in deep wilderness portage expeditions. Of course, canoes also come in very handy in color wars competitions and just good old fashioned water balloon fights and spontaneous races!
Extended Canoe Trips
Long canoe trips are great opportunities to foster a real sense of both community and adventure. Kids gain independence and self-reliance as well as becoming more interdependent as the whole group of voyagers pit themselves against the wilderness, accompanied by experienced guides of course! There are challenges aplenty on these exciting excursions from pitching tents to building fires, cooking meals, paddling through all kinds of waters and dealing with anything else Mother Nature may choose to throw at them. But at the end of a long day of paddling, swimming and making camp, there’s nothing like clustering around the campfire toasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories and looking forward to the next day’s adventures.