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Canoeing with Youth
Canoeing with Youth | ©:

A particular highlight in the experiential learning environment is canoeing. The participants can take a lot of experience home from this event. The most important one: "Together we are strong!" Most of the other learning achievements that can be implemented in the framework of canoeing greatly depends on the age of the young people. For children from about nine years, shorter trips between four and six hours are plenty. Older kids can benefit from multi-day trips.

Only together, we can reach the goal

Participants of canoeing trips learn almost immediately, that they only can reach their destination as a unified crew. The participants sitting in a canoe - are usually teams of two to four man. They have to repeatedly define the next tasks for each to reach the next stage. If they do not comply with the agreed range of tasks, the canoe tour all too quickly can end in cold water.

Canoeing | ©:

An even more important learning experience of canoeing trips is: Each boat crew has to find their solution for any arising problem. For example, how the next obstacle can be best avoided? It is up to the group to work out suitable solutions. The youth worker and an experienced outdoor guide escort the group, but must not interfere with small problems.

Patience gets you to the goal faster

On some tours, the canoe ride can be a tough test for their patience. For example, when the section comes to the end, the participants are hungry, and the canoes move not as fast as hoped because of the slow flow. The solution in this situation is to realize that they are faster with slow and coordinated rowing strokes than with fast, hectic and uncoordinated strokes.

Full training before the actual trip

Before the participants are allowed to climb in their canoes and experience their adventures on the river, they will receive a full briefing. This includes an introduction to the proper technique of paddling, but also a short basic course in first aid. Even with all due caution a canoe can capsize, and the most expert swimmers can quickly become disoriented when he is washed away by an unpredictable current. He might also have swallowed a lot of water in the process. During the introduction, the coaches make it perfectly clear to the young people, that in an emergency their own life can depend on the quick reaction of others.

Canoeing in Sweden
3 weeks Canoeing-Tour in Sweden

Learning Expeditions over several days

Particularly for multi-day excursions, the youth worker should work out a program. At least in broad terms and preferably including all participants. Joint planning will strengthen the team spirit within the group. Also from this experience the participants can take away another significant experience for life: If they cannot agree on individual program points, they need to discuss the matter until an agreeable compromise is found. One that makes this trip a positive experience for all participants.

Depending on which river and at which section the canoe trip is taking place, the group can make excursions to Museums, the hydroelectric power plants or wildlife sanctuaries and explore things that are fun for all participants.

Another idea would be to cover part of the route at foot, alongside the river. This experience can be rounded off by a barbecue at the campfire. Even regarding the food you could implement an experiential learning element. For example, as far as it is allowed, one kid could be responsible for catching fish for dinner. Together then they could cook it. Sharing food could create an unforgettable experience. For example, such as smoking fish in a cabbage tin. Canoe trips can be designed so eventful that each participant can take something personally away from those individually implemented elements. In any case, the crew of each canoe grows together to a close-knit community in just a short time.

Canoeing with your youth group | ©:

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