With the Certificate IV Outdoor Recreation course coming to an end, the white-water paddlers recently embarked on a week of white-water kayaking, and instructing students on the Leven River. It was a new stretch of water for the group and had some fun rapids and features to play on (contend with!), at the level it was flowing. After the first reconnaissance mission down the river, we all retired with the comfort of Paton Park Scout Camp facilities for the night.
The following day, we enjoyed another run down the river, which was flowing at a slightly lower level, and relished the opportunity to play on some waves and plough through a hole, before an afternoon of instruction that we were to provide to some of the outdoor education students from Don College. It was decided that we should take the students to the mouth of the Forth River, where some flatter water could be utilised, with the possibility of surfing some waves at the end of the day, if the students were up to it. Despite the broad range of abilities in the group of learners, all students ended up surfing waves and having an enjoyable experience together.
Given the level of the Leven River the following day, we decided to take the next group of Don College students there and provide instruction that would allow a short river trip to be run. Again, the Don College students rose to the challenge and were able to negotiate some rapids and have a safe and enjoyable white-water experience.
As the following day was our last opportunity as a group to practice our paddling before our formal assessment, we spent the entire day being drilled by ‘Sergeant’ Nate Welch, who is largely responsible for the fantastic development of the group over the duration of the course. There was more than one occasion where I stopped to think about how far we have all come with our white-water kayaking skills, ability to pass on those skills in an effective and empathetic manner and to safely facilitate a river trip with students who are quite new to kayaking.
Beyond the professional development that has occurred within the group, there has been a strong social connection between our student group and our leader, Nate Welch, which was clearly evident on the late-night drive back to Hobart. I would like to thank all involved for making the trip such an enjoyable success!