We’re looking to building a resource for how to get families involved in fun times paddling – it’s one of the priorities for the Club.
In the meantime and to get you started, here is a great article with lots of ideas from Travis of Paddle and Portage, in both PDF format or in web-format
Some General Guidance.
Paddling can offer a great active lifestyle and the club seeks to encourage family involvement. These guidelines set out our general approach.
- Our focus is on you (as the parent or guardian)… providing the opportunities for you to develop the skills and confidence to be able to take your kids out paddling and share your passion for the outdoors.
- Kids welcome in the club – but there does need to be a parent/guardian actively involved in the activities too…for reasons of safety, enjoyment, transport etc. At all times, your child/children remain your responsibility! You will know what your kids will enjoy, what will challenge them and more generally how best to bring them home safely and happily. Can you drop off your kids for paddle? no…
- Assessing skills and conditions – Parents will need to be able to assess conditions and in the intended paddle relative to kids confidence/skills/strength, along with being able to complete basic rescues. The club’s members can readily assist you (as the parent) with developing these skills. An excellent reference document is the ‘Club’s Flatwater Skills Framework’ – which can be accessed here
- No minimum age – There is no minimum age for involvement of kids, it’s up to you (as the parent) to work out when is suitable and both parent/kid are comfortable.
- Boat choices/availability – where club boats are being used, please understand that we are not able to ‘pre-allocate’ boats before a paddle session. Club boats will be allocated at the start of the session, based on a range of factors including weather, group size, expected time/duration etc.
- Additional planning is needed for U18’s – it is all possible, however we do need to establish additional contingencies and risk mitigation measures. Leader ratios , for example. This, for example, includes leaders being encouraged needed to have ‘working with children’ permits. Similarly, we should avoid situations where minors are unaccompanied.
- Club is not a commercial operation – unlike schools, commercial businesses etc, the club operates on the basis of volunteers, and on the basis of ‘shared/mutual responsibility’ – where everybody needs to look after each other. This remains the same with family-friendly paddling events.
- Not all activities will be suitable. Some paddles require certain levels of experience, skills and physical strength. This is particularly the case with open-water and white-water activities. Where possible, the club will encourage members to organise activities with a family friendly target audience.
- Great to learn from experiences of others – there are many families in the club and sharing of tips and tricks is strongly encouraged.
- Not everybody will be happy to have kids present – paddling for many people is a great leisure activity, where tranquillity and relaxation are sought. While we totally love having kids involved in the club, there are times when paddles may be adults only, where we like to ‘get away from it all’ . We ask that you respect this.
The club environment does seek to be family friendly and actively encourage participation. Feedback and ideas always welcome. Contact details for committee members can be found here. Similarly, the Club’s facebook page can be a great place to post ideas and questions – drawing on the collective knowledge of 900+ paddlers 🙂
These guidelines should also be read in conjunction with the Club’s Guidelines for Trips and Activities, available by clicking here