Katharine Hepburn once said, “As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.” It was with this in mind that Mrs Schutte set off to Southwater Watersports Centre, with 10 excited Upper School boys and girls, keen to learn how to paddle their own canoes.
On arrival, the children were equipped with wetsuits, buoyancy aids and their own kayaks. After some brief teaching points, such as how to paddle, what do in case of capsizing and how to avoid the reeds, the excited children smoothly launched their canoes into the water.
Lots of games and laughter followed, with shrieks of joy as all pupils successfully manoeuvered themselves in the water. Then the group headed to the far end of the lake, towards the Dinosaur Park, noting the beautiful scenery and bird life as they paddled.
Two hours on the lake flew by and it was soon time to unpeel their wetsuits and travel back to school. All of the children were beaming as they got on the bus and one, in particular, said that it was “one of the best experiences” of his life.
Over the course of the term, Mrs Schutte and the kayakers will head back to Southwater many times. The pupils will be following a Paddle Power course, a scheme run by British Canoeing, where pupils can develop their technique, skills and knowledge further, all in a fun and flexible way. They will learn about water safety, experiencing nature, staying healthy and spending time with friends. In short, they’ll learn to paddle their own canoes.