Meet Neale Brown, who shares his leadership experience and his journey towards his British Canoeing Canoe Leader Award.
I’ve been paddling for over 35 years, mostly in kayaks, as there wasn’t the option of boats available that there is today. Having said that, I have always looked as canoe as ‘the dark side!’ I joined the military and took part in some great expeditions with some fantastic adventures along the way. I gained a lot of experience, leading men professionally and also in outdoor activities.
For the last 12 years I have organised expeditions for my school to paddle Scottish Lochs and rivers, including everything from The Great Glen (Fort William to Inverness) to Rivers Tay and Spey. I have been inspired by canoeists who I've been lucky enough to paddle with and have as mentors, people such as Dave Crudgington, Tom Sibbald and Bob Taylor. I have also been fortunate enough to have extraordinary teachers such as Ken Hughes and Kim Bull.
My aim is to get people interested in paddling! I am a Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport coach and an active instructor around the Alnwick area and in my school. As part of my curriculum, we offer a unit all about Paddlesport where we take students on expeditions to paddle Scottish rivers / Lochs each year.
On my journey towards my Canoe Leader Award, I've taken two training courses and also made use of the offer to have a 1 day update. My son also completed the award so we spent time practicing our skills on as many rivers as we could before the assessment.
The Canoe Leader Award has given me better knowledge and made me improve my skills. My next steps are to practice the skills I have learnt and get people out on the rivers. I also want to move onto Moderate Water Endorsement, so here’s to the next chapter!