Thanks to a generous grant in 2021, Anderson Island Park & Recreation District will be launching a Youth Kayaking Program!
The program was created to address the access gap that our community often faces, with many youth on the Island never having the chance to enjoy the Puget Sound via personal watercraft. As the number of youths continues to grow on the Island, it becomes more critical to offer opportunities to unplug and enjoy the outdoors.
These kayaks will also be used during our summer camps that usually take place in one of the beachfront parks.
DURATION: scheduled outings with initial training
SIZE: 4-6 youth per session
COST: free, only available to island youth
This program opportunity has come together quickly, so please understand that we are still working out details, which we'll post as they become available. This includes:
But even as we finalize our plans, we are working to get this program in the water for this season, so stay tuned!
What we need to do now is to get a list of kids who are interested. Please be aware: at this time, the program is ONLY for youth who live on the island, not visitors or guests.
To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with:
Once we have dates, Chuck will be in touch to coordinate training dates and get waivers and medical information signed.
We are looking for experienced kayakers who live on the Island to help out with training and lead small groups for these outings going forward. Please contact Chuck if you are interested (email@example.com)
Prior to joining us for scheduled kayak adventures, we require that youth attend a Safety Training all about water safety, paddling and rescue techniques, and other subjects to ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable time on the water. The classes size will be from 4-6 kids and will take at least 3 hours for basic training.
Once the kids have the necessary skills, we will start scheduling Kayak Outings into Oro Bay and later around the Island. Type and duration of outings will vary based on students' experience.
On June 14th, Anderson Island Park & Recreation District applied for a grant made possible by Washington Recreation and Park Association (WRPA), and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), administered on behalf of the Office of the Superintendent for Public Schools (OSPI).
The federal COVID-19 relief funds are being provided to OSPI to enable local parks and recreation agencies throughout our state to expand summer outdoor education programs offered to school-aged kids!
The purpose of the SEEK (Summer Experiences & Enrichment for Kids) Program is to increase access to quality outdoor summer programming for youth and communities who have historically been underserved and who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We were notified on July 14th that we were being awarded the full amount, $16,621 for the purchase of 5 high quality kayaks, paddles and safety gear along with funds to repair the basketball equipment at the elementary school.
In 2010, we brought kayak training into our Nature Adventure Camp as an event, borrowing kayaks and safety equipment for the day. The SEEK grant is providing us with funds to permanently add this equipment and youth-sized safety gear to our recreation system, giving our youth regular access to personal watercraft!
As this program develops, our goal is to be able to have water safety and age-appropriate outings for those under 12. During our Nature Camp for kids 6-11, we used two-person kayaks, each child paired with an adult, to offer an introduction to basic kayaking.
For now, we are starting with an age range that likely has the strength and physical development/size that will enable them to safely use a single-person kayak as part of a group outing. If your child has personal watercraft experience, or is likely to meet the requirements to engage in this kind of activity, Chuck Hinds is happy to screen anyone under 12 to see if he sees that they are a good fit for the program.
Once we get the program established, we'll revisit how we can expand the program to safely accommodate kids under 12.
The grant that made this program possible was particularly focused on creating recreation opportunities for youth in underserved communities.
Our island kids have historically had less access to youth programs and sports compared to youth who live elsewhere and visit.
As the program develops, we may open it to other youth visiting the island, but with only 5 kayaks and safety gear, we are currently prioritizing youth who are island residents - the audience that the grant was specifically trying to serve.
This is on our list to review once the program is established. We would love to find a way to make kayaks available to youth once they have the proper water safety training, but there are logistics, insurance, and procedures that need to be worked through before we would be ready to offer this kind of service. We'll update the community once we make a final feasibility determination.
This will be a volunteer-driven program, with Chuck Hinds taking the lead on organizing and executing outings.
Chuck and Kelly Hinds owned a kayak rental company on the island before closing it to enjoy retirement, and have extensive kayak experience, both around the island and the world.
As we vet our volunteers, we'll be posting short bios on their background, sharing their experience and how they are supporting the program.