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Thread: A surprising outcome

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    A surprising outcome

    A little backstory...

    Been doing "scouts" ( let's not get bogged down in semantics) for almost 25 years now. I have always believed that we should grade activities so that whilst everyone can try an activity, the level of involvement increases as they get older.

    I've been coaching kayaking for almost 20 years and we have , until this year, run a plan where Beavers get a splash about in a boat, Cubs get to try a bit more but essentially it is a splash about. Scouts and Explorers train for the erstwhile Star tests. ( My Navs will still issue Star Awards alongside BC awards).

    Anyway, our pool sessions operate on a slight subsidy. If numbers drop, the subsidy soars. Well, this winter three dropped out of the pool sessions and we were on course to see the subsidy rise from 35 to 182, which we could afford, but seemed a waste. So, we offered the 21 places across 7 sessions to our Junior Navigators. We had three, or sometimes four 7-10 year olds in the pool alongside older paddlers with a little more ability.

    It was a challenge to deal with complete newbies almost every week, but we were pleased at their enthusiasm and their determination.

    The final session clashed with DoE practice and we had a big gap in our advanced session, so, we moved the better paddlers from the beginners session to the advanced session, and filled the first session with our Juniors. The outcome was stunning. They went about practising their basic strokes, bashing into each other, but not getting frustrated. Then, halfway through we introduced them to Kayak Polo... Having seen the anarchy of our older paddlers playing Polo I was prepared for a lot of capsizes and really for it not to work.

    Boy did they prove me wrong. They padled, they fought for the ball, they passed to each other, we saw some real teamwork, and only one capsize. The Lifeguard, who has seen our older lot play, looked as surprised as we did. He actually said, "Your older paddlers could learn a lot from these little kids."

    So, my long held view of grading access has taken a knock. The only issue is that the younger ones cannot carry the kayaks when we move to outdoor kayaking, but skill-wise, they have what it takes.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....

    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers

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