Thursday, 17 March 2011

Canoe and Kayak Level One... with CYE and Saint George's House

March is here bring with it the sun... at last :D

Finally level 1 time, after being postponed twice once in November and once in December. On the evening of 28th Feb The DisTIL team plus Jon and minus Simon headed down to the CYE center in Chichester, West Sussex. When we arrived at CYE we headed up to their new accommodation vessel 'TS Resolute' to find no one about! Everyone had gone to the pub for the evening. On their return we introduced ourselves with a few games of mafia and then settled in a good night's sleep before the fun began.

Day 1

Breakfast 8am Ahhh... sleepy faces most definitely... amazing views over the Chichester estuary... worth getting up for. After morning thought we split off into the two training courses that were taking place that week - Sailing and Canoe + Kayak coaching. From this everyone that was on the level 1 canoe and kayak course went down to the 'Forepeak' or as we called it the Snug. There were 11 of us on the course: 3 from CYE - Pete, Amy and Pete, 3 from Saint George's House - Esther, Chris and Tom, 5 from A+ - Rob, James.F, Sarah, Rachel and me, along with our three trainers/assessors - Jon, Martin and Clive (who joined us at the end of the week).

After this an introduction to the course was done, followed by a quick look at the paperwork, then it was play time! After collecting a few essentials like canoes, kayaks, paddles, wet kit and food we set off to the local canal for our first day. After unloading all the boats and getting wet kit on we went over how to check kit i.e. boats and BAs along with how to handle your boat and dynamic risk assessments on the go.

Continuing on from this we then split into two groups (one in kayaks, the other in canoes) and looked at connectivity, power transfer, posture and feel in your boat and how they affect how well you perform.

Back on dry land we continued with theory and paper work with a quick interlude for dinner (don't mess with the cook: when she says it's dinner it's dinner). It was a long day which included homework when we finished - now where's my bed? - I'm knackered! Nope wrong answer it's quiz time :) Amy had arranged a quiz for us all in the evening which was a lot of fun and a great way to end the day.

Day 2

Breakfast 8am Ahhh (again)... sleepy faces most definitely (again)... amazing views over the Chichester estuary... still worth getting up for! After morning thought we got ready to go and went straight out on canal teaching the lesson plans we had come up with the night before. We managed to get everyone through their lesson plan and get back just slightly late for lunch.

Afternoon and nothing can be better than spending a relaxed afternoon on the estuary in canoes and sea kayaks - did I forget to mention it was really windy! Rafting time practice. One group in canoes others in sea kayaks we battled against the wind to the other side of the estuary. It was definitely a different experience to our normal waters. Now sea kayaks are amazing but when you have never been in one before and you only have an hour you soon learn turning and going side ways are rather challenging due to the length of the boat! However it was a lot of fun and an experience I won't be forgetting any time soon.

Home work time again - session plan :)

Day 3 - Assessment starts!

After getting up to a frosty sunny morning and putting boats back on the trailers from the afternoon, our other assessor Clive arrived and headed into breakfast with us.

We then headed straight out for the canal split into three groups each teaching our lesson plan we had written the night before with in our groups. By the time we had finished it was lunch time - an amazing time of the day when you have been on the water all morning!

Wet Wet Wet - we love rescues - after a morning on the water it was now time to get in the water :) thank you sun for coming out it made the water look so much more friendly. We each had to do a self rescue and rescue another in canoe and kayak though I'm quite sure people got carried away but then again rescues are a lot of fun and the more you practice the better you get :)

After getting back and drying off it was time for our theory test which is rather easy when you work out the pass mark is 80 marks out of 100. Needless to say we all passed just in time for dinner, which was followed by some more paper work and homework in the form of a session plan - Oh don't you just love session plans?

Day 4

Breakfast 8am Ahhh (one last time)... sleepy faces (very sleepy!)... amazing views over the Chichester estuary... still just about worth getting up for! After morning thought by Pete and Amy we got ready to go out again for our morning on the water. We again had split into three groups and taught our session plans. Following this we did a few more rescues then went back to CYE for lunch. Our afternoon was spent finishing paperwork and giving feedback of how we had done in the sessions to each other. Martin, Jon and Clive then went to discussing how well we had all done and sorting the paperwork out, while we started packing and getting ready to go. We were finally called in and found out how we had done then ended the course in prayer.

It had been a great week: working with other centres was a great experience and I would love to do this again but for now it's home time and I think a few people might just be looking forward to their beds! I for one was...

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