07 Feb Canoeing – Best Outdoor Education Activities
Canoeing – Outdoor Education Activities
Have you ever tried canoeing? It looks simple right? Well, there is in fact a lot to it, especially for a first-timer. Becoming an experienced paddler takes skill, patience, and perseverance.
We have found that it is quite normal for students new to canoeing to be a little nervous at first. The wobbly canoe when stepping in it to sit down, the unfamiliar weight of the paddle, and having to work with a team-mate to move and steer the canoe across the water are all unfamiliar experiences.
With a lot of guidance from our Outdoor Education Instructors and some willing experiential learning from the students, the growth curve is steep. Students on the QCCC Mapleton canoe lake will learn how to maneuver their canoes using a variety of different strokes and techniques. They will learn how to respond to safety and communication signals from their instructor and how to communicate and work effectively with their partner in their canoe.
For many, it can be slow going at first as they get a feel for the paddle strokes, it often takes time to master the necessary timing with your team-mate, and just generally trying one’s best to not capsize! But after some persistence the rhythm of a team’s paddling comes together, demonstrating the uniquely human ability to adapt and progress. The students’ experience quickly changes from one of apprehension and even frustration to one of excitement and joy.
QCCC instructors are trained to create a fun and exciting experience during the canoe lesson by coaching skills through interactive games and activities. This allows the students to hone their abilities whilst enjoying themselves and learning at the same time.
Technique aside, canoeing can also be a catalyst for life skills that build up students’ self-confidence and self-efficacy. Some of the common areas of growth we see are increased coachability, better team cohesion and communication, adaptability, perseverance, and a special sense of achievement and accomplishment that is often hard to achieve in such a short space of time.
As well as learning new skills, students learn about their own abilities, so that they can push through challenges whether it be their communication with a teammate or not being able to turn right on the water. There is vital developmental learning that occurs which applies to many areas of their life other than just canoeing itself. This learning experience is cemented by the instructor in a debrief at the end of each canoe experience. They may even develop a love for a sport or hobby that can be used to keep fit, spend time with family, battle raging waters for that adrenaline hit or simply to go outdoors and explore nature in all its wonder.