We are excited to share that the Prince George Canoe and Kayak Club has been selected by @CTJumpstart to receive a grant from their Sport Relief Fund. The fund helps community sport organizations like ours continue to provide access to sport and play for Canadian kids. This grant will go a long way towards helping us to purchase canoes and paddles that are a critical part of our progamming. #SportReliefFund
One of our critical goals for 2021 was to find more boats. Our club only owns sprint and river kayaks but we were able to borrow canoes whilst we were renting our beach access from Camp Hughes. The past two years we have been working around beach access schedules and COVID restrictions making it challenging to offer programming that includes canoe paddling; with all access to Camp Hughes blocked for programming again in 2021, our ability to use the canoes on an ongoing basis was tenuous and created a serious risk for our programs and the club.
But the grant that we have received from the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Grant provides the club with the equipment we need to increase our programs, expand our reach, and provide more accessible and inclusive paddling opportunities.
If you are not familiar with our sprint boats - they are razor-thin, tippy boats capable of great speeds - but for first time paddlers - they are not the sort of boat that brings "enjoyment" to mind - especially when the waves pick up. On top of that, the boats we have are height and weight restricted.
Now our river boats are a gem of a deal we received from Chilliwack Centre of Excellence Paddling Club, but they too sized on the small kid size and are designed for river paddling making steering on flatwater a challenge for our young and new paddlers.
The canoes we purchase will be suitable for all kids and even their parents; they will be suitable for both the new / novice paddler and the experience day-tripper. The boats will be stable, safe, and less likely to get kids wet - unless they want to be wet. These canoe will allow more kids to join our club and get out and enjoy this amazing sport.
One of our critical goals for 2021 was to find a new home for our club and we are excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with BC Parks that will allow us to run our programs from beside the Group Site at the West Lake Provincial Park. Our storage container will be placed by the West Lake Maintenance Buildings and we will launch our boats from a newly carved out section of beach.
Receiving this support from BC Parks is what makes it possible for this not-for-profit, mostly volunteer run organizatiion to keep offering these amazing programs for kids.
We have hired our 2 summer students are part of the Canada Summer Job Grant program.
We are happy to have selected one of our "ex" paddlers for the role of Program Assistant. Cindy has paddled with the club since 2019 and easily took to the boats and learnt the skills required to handle even the most tippy boat in big waves on West Lake. Although she wasnt able to compete in the BC Summer Games in Maple Ridge (due to COVID19), we are excited that she has joined our club and can help teach other young paddlers to love this sport and perhaps attend the BC Summer Games instead as a Coach.
We also welcome Alexander to our club as an Assistant Coach and his previous experience coaching, his enthusiasm for the outdoors, and his developing knowledge of Kinesiology will make him a valuable member of our staff.
We received excited news! Our application for the Canada Summer Jobs Grant was approved - we now have funding to pay for a Coach and a Program Assistant. The Coach will assist the Head Coach in teaching the kids how to paddle and provide a safe and inclusive experience for them in our club. The Program Assistant will assist the Coaches in setting up for the programs, making sure all our supplies and equipment is ready for the paddlers, and being an active participant in the games and the paddle sessions.
The club is primarily run by volunteers who log over 40 hours a week to ensure our programs can run affordably. This Canada Summer Jobs Grant will allow the volunteers to focus more on program development and club administration so that we can engage more kids and families in Prince George, BC.
COVID19 is like a giant log jam just in front of a waterfall - you can only see one danger at a time - you might not even realize how many dangers are ahead, but you have to take each one in turn and problem solve on the fly because the current is pushing your forward and there isnt much choice. So we had to set some goals for the club - and some of those goals are just to keep our heads above water.