Every day this week, whenever a canoe of boat was launched, the children asked; ” when are we going to go rowing.” To which the answer is Thursday. Just to be asked the same question a little later by another child. (Teachers will be pleased to know that I used this opportunity to recap the days of the week.) Another question that came a lot was whether they could go in the water to which the answer was maybe on Thursday.
And finally it was Thursday!
While waiting for our river guide to arrive the children watched some canoeists in training, cheering for their favorite. And when Niels arrived their attention rapidly shifted to action that was a bit more hands on.
While Niels left to collect more gear, we gathered the children and divided them into boat teams. Taking strenght and skill into consideration, we paired the older children with a younger child and the adults with two young ones. The final step before launch time – a water-safety briefing.
Everybody got a life-jacket, a boat was assigned to each team and then (finally) we took to the water. Managing the rubber ducks were more difficult than most anticipated. Some children decided that they didn’t want to do paddling anymore some were still getting the hang of managing the boats. Our plan of action changed from going up the vlei and crossing over to the other side to a much more contained but free paddle on the bay formed by the reeds and the launch form the canoe- club.
In the sheltered space three things became possible, children were free to paddle at their own pace, practicing turning and going forward. It allowed those who felt overwhelmed by the big expanse of the vlei to reconsider taking part. And lastly it allowed children to chop and change partners at will. The big challenge now was avoiding the nesting water fowl. One particular cock defended his mate and their eggs quite vigorously.
The maybe from earlier in the week became a definite. Those who wanted to swim were free to swim anywhere in the bay as long as they kept their life jackets on.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
An overwhelming majority of the children listed swimming and rowing as their highlights for the day. I know all 28 of them are going to sleep like babies. Not to mention the three teachers!