Girl Scout Canoe Training

While my older kids were busy at their 4-H Campout, I left the house early on a cloudy and chilly Sunday morning, and headed to Holiday Park on Benbrook Lake to take my Girl Scout canoe training.

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Our family has been canoeing for years, and my daughter even received her first kayak the past Christmas.  It would be great to take out my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and share this exciting activity with them!  The training class is the first of two classes I must take before I earn my Aquatic Explorer certificate and can take them out.

Prior to the class, we were sent emails suggesting that we dress in layers because the April temperatures were unpredictable.  It also suggested that we wear a wetsuit or snug fitting, synthetic clothing, since we would also be getting in the water!   I was dismayed to find out my wetsuit had mysteriously “shrunk” since I last wore it.  Apparently, my husband’s weak claims of an unknown force shrinking all his clothes are correct!

There were eleven of us in the class, and we quickly determined that some of us were proficient paddlers, and some had never been in a canoe before!  Barbara Cutter of Cutter Aquatics in Colleyville, was leading the class, along with her friend and fellow paddler, Chris.  The ladies began by teaching us the correct name for the parts of a paddle, the appropriate way to hold the paddle and paddle strokes.  After 30 minutes, my head was completely reeling!  Although our family takes our canoe out several times a month, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn!

Girl Scouts

It’s important to understand that this was a Girl Scout training event, and GS’s always have very specific ways to do things!  If you’ve ever attended a GS camp out,  you know that GS’s have their way of starting fires, washing dishes and much, much more!  So, we weren’t just learning the correct way to paddle, but the correct Girl Scout way to paddle.

After taking down the canoes, we put in the lake.  I even found out that I SIT DOWN in the canoe wrong, keeping my behind hoisted high in the air until I have both feet in the boat!  I have a confession that I’ve been practicing the correct way at home!

We practiced paddling around the lake, working on turning and forward paddling.  The sun has come out from behind the clouds, and it was turning into a beautiful day!

At mid-day, we sat down for lunch, and listened to canoeing stories from Barbara and Chris.  Amazing and inspiring women, they have canoed around the world, and even competed together in the Texas Water Safari, a grueling four day race from San Marcos to Seadrift on the Gulf Coast,  for the first time at the age of 50!

We changed canoe partners and paddling positions, and practiced going forwards and turning around buoys.  Then came the part I was most looking forward to, practicing rescues!

I was more than happy to be one of those who capsized their boat,  although it felt strange to purposely flip a canoe!  Once in the water it took a minute to acclimate before we helped the assisting canoe pull our canoe up onto their’s, and flip it!  Once it was floating upright, we had to pull ourselves onto the boat from the water!  It was difficult but exhilarating at the same time!  Next we  assisted as the other canoe flipped, and we helped them to turn over their boat and their re-entry!

Happily, the warm sun made being wet very comfortable.

Of course, the best part of any Girl Scout activity is the friends you make.  We finished up and said our goodbyes, looking forward to seeing them again when we complete the second part of the training.

Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun! 

Michelle 

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