CReW: Youth Challenge Kayak Program: Testimonials
Every year our program ends and we say goodbye to the kids with whom we shared our passion for kayaking. The kids change through the summer. The learn, grow and evolve. When they leave us we are proud to have made a known them and had the chance to affect them in some positive way.
Have we done so? You bet!
How does kayaking and sports change young people? Let us
show you:Meet young mister “C”:
This young fellow (10 years old) came to us at the
beginning of the 2009 season and he was an angry dude. Enough negative energy
pouring out of him to knock down trees. At first we thought we would have to
drop him from the program due to the negative effect on those around him. We
can allow aggressive behavior regardless of the reason. And then I though to
myself… Why drop him…. This is the kid who really needs what we offer.
The following week we encountered the same things and this time I took him
aside and we had a talk.
A change of approach:
He did not like what I had to say but he listened
anyway. Every time he got angry we encourage him to get angry but to direct his
anger at the task in front of him. To channel all that energy into
accomplishing a goal. Do not look back, look forward and take it out on the
water. (Not being able to make it upstream is frustrating. It is also a great
way to vent frustration!) The little guy let it out on the water. Lots of
growling as he worked to guide his boat and make it do what he wanted it to do.
Each week another lesson and each week more enthusiasm for paddling and, to his
(and my) surprise some serious improvements. He controlled the boat and more
and more he controlled his emotions.
What’s more, the littering stopped – the language
softened and his tolerance for others on the water improved. By August he was
on board. Getting there early with a smile on his face and so many questions.
In Valleyfield we saw what he was after and we let him
take it. He loved running the river and when he rode with me in the Tandem he
was thrilled. More importantly the growling was replaced by laughs and the
anger was put aside. He also tells us he will be back next year. His next goal
will be the roll.
At the time we hoped that his new self would continue then in November during
our National Children’s Day event we saw what we hoped for. Mr. C came out
without being asked and spent the time not as another kid playing in the pool
but as a volunteer. He did not have to do this. We did not ask him. He wanted
to and he did it! We are so very proud of him.Meet “J”:
A teen going through all sorts of personal change.
He has been with us for several years and we have
watched him grow, come out of his shell, express who he is and be happy with
it. He was always a follower and in 2007 and 2008, on the water, he was doing
all the right things for the wrong reasons.
In 2009 he grew a little more. He was respectful,
helpful, great with the younger kids and showed an enthusiasm for paddling just
because he can. No other reason. Another part of who he is and out there
because it made him happy. Is there more from “J”? Yes. He too has come out and
volunteered at our events.
Does not sound like much? Guess again. Expressing yourself, choosing something
good an positive, then sticking with it because you want to is a huge step in
personal development and the road to success. Well done J and looking forward
to seeing him again next year too.
These are 2 examples of why we run the Youth Challenge
Kayak Program. There are many more.
At the end of each season we stand before the children
and answer the same question: Will we be back next year? The answer we give is
a promise to be there for them: “Yes – we will come back and yes you are always
welcome back with us”.
See you on the river soon :)
Robert ZwanenburgSeaway Valley World Kayak Hometown Throwdowns
Each year we bring our young people to Valleyfield, Quebec with the Cornwall Recreational Whitewater Club, World Kayak and Adventure Sports Access Group Inc and offer competive and fun kayak events.Robert Zwanenburg World Kayak Ambassador
Williamstown, Ontario – Local Williamstown resident, and kayaker Robert Zwanenburg has recently been named the World Kayak Ambassador for the Seaway Valley Region including the Eastern Ontario area, as well as South Western Quebec, Montreal area and Northern New York. Zwanenburg’s Ambassador duties will focus on helping spearhead efforts to reach out to and grow the kayaking community in the Seaway Valley and surrounding communities.
Zwanenburg has been kayaking for 25 years. Born in Montreal Quebec, Zwanenburg relocated to Williamstown to provide a good community for his family. Zwanenburg and his family paddle regularly throughout Ontario and Quebec as well as on the Raisin River, which runs through Williamstown. After the first year in Williamstown, Zwanenburg started to introduce kayaking to families and youths in the area.
In 2006, with the support of Sylvie, Zachary and Emily, Zwanenburg founded the Cornwall Recreational Whitewater Club (www.cornwallwhitewater.com
) and since then they, along with some very dedicated volunteer instructors can be seen teaching kayak skills in Williamstown on the Raisin River, in Cornwall on the St-Lawrence River or In Valleyfield Quebec as well as in a pool in Alexandria during the cold winter months.
“Some of our younger paddlers are showing a lot of promise” says Zwanenburg, “watch for them in coming Rodeos and event. These kids are our future stars and river ambassadors. I am proud to be able to teach and coach them”.
Together Zwanenburg, his family and fellow sports enthusiasts, also founded The Adventure Sports Access Group (www.asag.ca) that provides adventure sports experiences (primarily kayaking) and programs for kids that do not have all the opportunities of our own kids.
As a World Kayak ambassador, Robert will serve as the main point of contact for others in the area that want to try, learn, play and excel at kayaking. He will update information about kayaking news and events at WorldKayak.com
“Becoming a World Kayak Ambassador is an honor for me personally and will be a benefit to the Seaway Valley and surrounding areas as well as the sport of kayaking,” Zwanenburg said. “Boaters will be more tuned into the many kayak opportunities in the area which will help grow the Seaway Valley’s reputation among kayak enthusiasts.”
World Kayak Ambassadors are selected on a variety of criteria including enthusiasm for the sport, openness to share their love of kayaking with others and willingness to help promote or host kayak events. The resumes of Ambassadors range from locally popular local enthusiasts to rising stars and former pros. In exchange, World Kayak Ambassadors receive discounts on gear from sponsors such as Jackson Kayak, and many other manufacturers.
To learn more about how you can get involved in kayaking in the Seaway Valley area, contact Robert Zwanenburg at 613-361-CReW (2739) and mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Retailers, clubs, kayak schools, events organizers and others involved in, or wanting to be involved in kayaking are especially encouraged to contact Mr. Zwanenburg to get their information added to the World Kayak database of kayak resources that can be found in the Seaway Valley area.
World Kayak is a grass roots organization dedicated to increasing participation and growth in whitewater kayaking. For more information on local, regional and global whitewater kayaking instructional programs, events and news visit WorldKayak.com
Please help us continue to support our youth and the Adventure Sports Access Group.