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Washington Kayak Club
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Helper Training Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
What a fun day at the pool, followed by a session on the Snoqualmie River Powerhouse section.  The goal for the day was to train the helpers who have volunteered to assist with the 2016 WKC Whitewater Kayaking Course.   It also gave the instructors the opportunity to refresh our memories and try out new teaching techniques. 
 
We had a total of 5 returning instructors, 2 new instructor, 2 graduates of the 2015 class, and 6 other boaters ready for a full day of training.  The training day gave the helpers an idea of what to expect come class time.  We went through helpful hints, how to communicate and interact with beginner paddlers, and give the helpers tools they can use to be successful in supporting new boaters. 
 
In the pool and once on the river, we swapped roles.  The instructors got a chance to role play by being a "student" and the helpers lead and rescued us many, many, many times!  We started with the basics in a warm pool environment during our normal WKC Tukwila pool session.  The helpers learned how to:
  • Recognize fear and/or anxiety
  • How to support a new paddler through the wet exit progression
  • Identify trouble spots / technique tweaks during different skills
training day irene and shanna
 

Once at the river, the helpers fine-tuned their new skills by:

  • Providing bow rescue/t-rescues
  • Pushing capsized boats
  • Towing swimmers
  • Dealing with a loose paddles
  • Being good swim coach's
  • How to communicate and interact with new paddlers
Helpers
 
Near the bottom of the river, we broke from our role playing and took some time to work on rescue skills that we don't use during  the course, but rather just as boating buddies.  We worked on swimming (active/passive) down a small rapid, as well as deploying our throw bags.  We also tried to recoil fast and re-throw as if we were in an emergency situation on the river.  We took turns being a swimmer so paddlers could practice hitting their targets.
 
We had a great time a learned a lot, thanks to all that showed up for a fantastic training day!  A few of us topped it off at the local Mexican Restaurant in Fall City with a warm meal and cold beer!

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