Meet Maeve Smith who shares her reasons for undertaking her White Water Kayak Leader Award and how this has informed her Leadership skills.
Since then I became really excited about all things whitewater! I started out on trips with my local club to Dartmoor and slowly progressed onto more challenging rivers. I have spent as much time as possible on the river at various locations across the UK and abroad. As part of my biggest kayaking trip, I spent 4 months working and kayaking in Chile.
I initially took part in the White Water Kayak Leader training as I wanted to be in a position to lead others safely on the river. I wanted to qualify as a leader in order to be able to give something back to the paddling community and help those starting out on their kayaking journey. I personally gained so much from the help of more experienced paddlers when I first started kayaking.
Working towards White Water Kayak Leader assessment has pushed me to try out new rivers with new people and take on more responsibility as part of a team on the river. I have learned a lot of new organisational skills that help to make trips run smoothly. I also really enjoyed the rescue training that was required as part of the qualification.
Before I started leading I was often too quiet and over complicated river signals. It has been important for me to learn how to differentiate between the most effective way to communicate with different paddlers. I have learned to keep things simple to ensure clear communication on the river. For example an inexperienced paddler, who may be nervous, compared to a more experienced paddler that is finding the trip easy and is capable of making more difficult lines/ eddys.
Keep an eye on the British Canoeing website for more details of the Paddlesport Leader Award, launching on the 3rd April 2017.
Photo credit: David Huges - Pucon Kayak Hostel