The New Caledonia Paddlers Club is developing a youth voyageur canoeing program in partnership with School District 91 and Nechako Valley Secondary School.
“Voyageur canoeing is a great opportunity for kids to practice teamwork, communication, and problem solving while being active on the water and in the outdoors,” said Brad McRobert, one of the five executives of the club.
The youth voyageur canoeing program was developed this year and is designed for grade 7 students who will learn how to paddle a large canoe with up to 8 – 10 students, McRobert said, adding teachers and qualified canoe instructors will be leading the participants.
McRobert said the club is hoping to offer the first youth training day for NVSS students in either Fall this year or Spring next year, once COVID-19 protocols are in place.
Meanwhile, in June this year, members participated in solo and tandem canoeing skills refresher training over four evenings, and followed that by a two-day voyageur canoe leader training course.
Funding for course instructors, safety equipment, second voyageur canoe for club use and training, was provided through grants from the Mount Milligan Legacy Program, the provincial Community Sport Development Program, and Rio Tinto.
In terms of overall goals of the club, McRobert said, they aim to “foster safe and responsible paddling and backcountry travel on water, foster an interest in learning to paddle and participating in paddling activities for all ages, and promote responsible travel and stewardship of our region’s lakes and rivers.”
Currently there are twenty members, and McRobert said they are always looking for new paddlers. The New Caledonia Paddlers Club is open to adults, and children are always welcome on trips or activities under the supervision of an adult club member, he added.
The club was established in late 2018 to promote safe recreational canoeing, kayaking and other recreational paddling in the Nechako and Fort St. James areas, McRobert said. Additionally, the local paddlers club is part of the Recreational Canoe Association of British Columbia and follows their standard of safety, training and responsible practices.
For more information on their various activities, follow New Caledonia Paddlers Club on Facebook or contact any one of the following executives – George Labrash, Richard Burkholder, Patty Borek, Kevin Moutray and Brad McRobert.