Throughout June and July, girls from the Whispering Pines Girl Scout Camp have been paddling up a storm, and learning a little something along the way. Looking at the pictures, you might not realize how much effort it takes to propel a canoe with 3 girls in it forward and backwards. Here's what the girls have to do as part of their canoeing experience:
- Step 1: The girls are shuttled from camp to the lake, about a 3 mile drive.
- Step 2: The girls have to work together to get the canoes off of the canoe trailer, and then carry them down a beach to the water. It usually takes about 6 girls per boat.
- Step 3: The girls hike around the lake to the far beach (Away from the fishermen) while I tow the 6 canoes across the lake, navigating through fishing lines.
- Step 4: The girls talk about their concerns. Some have never been in a boat before, some are afraid, nervous- a couple girls even said they were afraid of sharks.
- Step 5: The girls learn what a life jacket is and how it keeps them safe. We talk about how to hold the oars, learn different paddling strokes and get into groups of 3.
- Step 6: The girls learn to get into the canoes, keeping 3 points of contact on the boat, and get ready to launch.
- Step 7: I launch the boats into the water and yell “have fun!”
- Step 8: The girls have about 15 minutes to paddle around and get used to the strokes and working as a team.
- Step 9: All the boats gather in the center of the lake, side by side. (Everyone learned how to parallel park a canoe!) We talk about how it was challenging to work as a team to get your canoe to go where you wanted it to. We talk about things they could do differently- talk to each other, m
ake decisions as a group, put someone in charge. Then, I shake things up. Now that they've learned how to work with this group of people- they will learn how to work with others, because they all change places! I give the directions that while we are all together in the center of the lake, everyone will switch spots and boats. The girls have to talk among themselves to figure out who is going where and how they are going to make it happen without everyone falling in the water. Its a really fun trust, balance and communication activity- and its really fun to watch!
- Step 10: We race! Now that the girls have learned how to work together and have a basic knowledge of paddling, we do some forwards and backwards races.
- Step 11: Search and Rescue! I have 3 inflatable animals in my canoe- a turtle, a pelican and a monkey. For some reason, I always feel like throwing them out of boat (poor guys). The girls use their new skills to rescue the animals from the water- which gets really interesting when the wind picks up.
- Step 12: Water sports! Also in my boat, I have 2 footballs and a soccer ball- all of which don't like being in my boat. They like the water, so I throw them in opposite directions on the lake. We did several things with the balls over the summer. We played water polo. We played football. We played catch. We tossed them around and rescued them. The girls came up with different games to play using the balls and animals. They are fun.
- Step 13: Getting tired, but the day isn't over yet. I tow the boats back across the lake while the girls hike back to the beach. Then, they have to carry them back up the beach and load them back on the trailer- a harder feat after you've been using your muscles all day!
- Step 14: Did you girls have fun? YES!