Saturday, June 25, 2011

Annual trip to Adventure Crafters

The new Adventure Crafters space at CBEC (Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center).
Every summer, we spend a weekend teaching at Adventure Crafters in Maryland, a paddle center with a heavy emphasis on instruction and a loyal following of long-term students as well as a continuous influx of newer paddlers. For us, it's an opportunity to paddle and teach on salt water, try out some of our coaching ideas in a new environment, and reconnect with owner Robert Schrack, his family and the paddling community Adventure Crafters has nurtured.

Robert Schrack in his office at Adventure Crafters.
This year, we arrived early enough to meet Robert at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware for a day of paddling on the coast, where we were treated to a sweet tidal race. Then we returned for two days of classes in Queenstown, Maryland.

Two students in the "Yes, You Can!" women's class, celebrating a successful assisted rescue.
Somehow, no matter how we bill a particular class, we always end up returning to fundamentals. Students at every level seem to benefit from a review of the essentials of successful paddling: posture, connectivity, torso rotation, edge control, paddle grip and angle, and basic strokes. Small instructor-to-student ratios enable us to address these simultaneously for students with various levels of proficiency.

If all that sounds like work, it shouldn't. We include lots of games and activities--everything from clambering on the deck for balance, to cockpit basketball for maneuvering--to develop skills on a less conscious level. This concept is neither new nor unique to us. We owe a debt to the BCU (British Canoe Union) and a myriad coaches with whom we've worked who've emphasized the importance of games and activities in learning.

We end every visit with a rousing rodeo event, which is just plain fun.

Racing a raft of kayaks, a new rodeo event we learned from Kelly Blades
Time flies when you're having fun. We spent our last day paddling again with Robert, reflecting on our classes and spotting eagles and herons along the banks of the Chester River. Long-term paddling relationships are special, whether they're with students, fellow coaches, friends or family members. Those of us who have a mix of all four are fortunate.

Final day of paddling in Maryland. We'll return in 2012.

1 comment:

Lyn Stone said...

It's always a treat to work with you guys, Robert and his wonderful students. Such a great environment. Robert did a great job on the weather too.