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Canoe club camps help promote love of paddling

posted May 10, 2011, 10:19 AM by Hector Carranco
Kristy Wallace/ Ottawa This Week|May 06, 2011

Paddlers who start young will take on the sport for life, according to the folks at the Rideau Canoe Club.

That’s why three upcoming summer camps and programs for children and young adults are important to keeping them fit well into adulthood.

“It’s a sport where you stay for life,” said Louise Hine-Schmidt who’s the paddling director at the club.

Hine-Schmidt is in charge of all the club’s paddling programs including the ones planned for this summer.

For children ages seven to 12, the Rideau Canoe Club will host its CanoeKids camp – which allows children to spend one week exploring the Rideau River with instructors in canoes, kayaks and dragon boats. In this camp children learn the basics of boat safety and help develop their paddling skills.

“It’s a real grassroots day camp,” said Hine-Schmidt. “It’s a weekly camp and we have some great instructors to teach them this part of canoeing. It gives them a taste of the full sport.”

She said for children ages nine to 14, there is the pre-competitive Regatta Ready camp which runs for two weeks at a time. At this camp, Hine-Schmidt said participants learn the fundamentals of sprint canoeing and kayaking, developing and performing their skills at their own pace. At the end of the two weeks the athletes get to participate in a regatta at the Rideau Canoe Club or at another one in Eastern Ontario.

“The goal at the end of the local regatta is that kids get a taste of the bantam program,” said Hine-Schmidt. “If they enjoy racing, the goal is to have them join the program next summer.”

The Rideau Canoe Club’s Bantam program is its competitive program where athletes participate in the Eastern Ontario Division regattas and the provincial Trillium Championships.

While it’s a competitive program, Hine-Schmidt said it allows for children to compete with other young people who are around the same age and development which makes the whole experience more fun.

“It gets kids competing, practicing, and participating at the right level for their age and development,” she said. “It’s not pushing kids too hard too soon, and lets them develop as an athlete and a person.”

This summer will be the first time the club offers a full-day bantam program, Hine-Schmidt said, and the club has a new head coach, Mike Robinson, whose hiring was announced in March.

“We’re really excited about the summer,” she said.

She added that the club’s end goal is for children to develop a love for the sport and to learn the skills necessary to paddle safely.

“What they get out of it is a love for the sport and something they’ll want to continue to do,” Hine-Schmidt said. “There’s a real family feel down there – it’s a paddling family.”

She said the CanoeKids camp is usually capped at about 30 children, but the club welcomes as many children as possible for the Regatta Ready camps since participants are integrated into the competitive bantam program.

For more information on the club or activities this summer, visit the Rideau Canoe Club’s website at www.rideaucanoeclub.ca/ .

kristy.wallace@metroland.com

Ottawa This Week - West
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