CRCO has provided courses, clinics and guided trips since the early 60s. At CRCO we pride ourselves in offering summer work placements to youth, but it's been a while since we’ve offered youth specific courses. This summer we decided to change that. I ran a Paddle Canada “Intro to Moving Water Course” for youth this past week.

Three girls participated: Aria and Ruth (both 12 and from Alberta) and Erin (15, from Saskatchewan). Saturday afternoon we covered all the necessary strokes on Otter Lake here in Missinipe. Late Sunday night, after waiting out a violent evening lightning storm, arrived at out camp on Barker Island at 10 pm just as the light was waning and bugs were coming out in full force.

The next day dawned clear and beautiful, and we hit the rapids below Surf City. We talked about how rapids and eddies are formed, how to enter current from an eddie, how to cross the current, how to cross eddy fences and re-enter eddy pools.

Right away the experience each of these girls had on rivers was apparent. They all come from families who have taken them on long canoe trips for years. Ruth and Aria have paddled so long they can’t remember the first trip they did together at the age of 6. Quickly their confidence and skill built and before long they were executing manoeuvres with confidence and ease.

At the end of the day the girls all jumped into Surf City and I picked them up in Barker Lake and we returned to our camp on the island.

The second day was similar but this time we progressed quickly without as much instruction. Each of them proved their skills by attaining Red Neck Eddy from stern and bow, and after a quick lunch they cooled off by swimming Surf City – five times! We continued further up the channel into the rapids above Surf City, descending and attaining rapids like MacDonalds and Indigo.

Finally it was time to head home, past Dieter’s and a quick stop at Barker Island to pick up our camp. I took the bow while the girls took me down Murray Channel, a Class III rapid that, really, is beyond the scope of an Intro Moving Water course. But they did a great job eddying out at each rapid smoothly and comfortably with smiles on their faces as we emerged into Devil Lake. The end of a successful course!