Last weekend Body Boat Blade ran a Leadership Training for the Snoqualmie Valley Venturing Crew #115. The crew of teens ranged from ages 14-20, and their purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Their adventures include a “snowcamp” where they snowmobile into the cascades and camp out together, and sea kayaking adventures in the San Juan Islands and other waterways of Washington. We were hired to help them bolster their kayak leadership training program.
Crew #115 Inspires Through Adventure
This is one of those groups of people that inspire you and make you wish you had something like it when you were a kid. With such a wide range of ages and ability levels, you might expect complete chaos. What we experienced was the exact opposite. There was so much compassion, respect and loyalty among the group that it truly felt like we were working with a team. The older members helped the younger work through problems and took initiative when they saw it. The younger members were engaged and respectful, listened to directions, and more importantly knew how to have a good time.
They brought their fleet of Pygmy kayaks which they’ve build over the last several years. It was a beautiful site watching that trailer roll up each day. It’s one of those things that you can’t help but stop and appreciate. Each Pygmy kayak takes around 60 hours to build over several weeks or months. Knowing that, you can really appreciate the time and care put into their crew and the experiences they provide.
Becoming a Leader Takes Effort
During the training, we focused on boat maneuvers, proper technique, rescues, towing, and group leadership. We broke the day up with a lot of games and silliness. One of the favorites was a game called Farm Animals, where you and a partner must find each other with your eyes closed, and can only make an agreed upon animal noise to do so.
One thing that really stuck out to me was the willingness of crew members that picked up a skill quickly to help another who was struggling with it. While we were working on self rescues, I watched kids who got back in right away paddle over to their friends who were still in the water and help coach them in. It was really special watching them all work together.
We’re hoping that our relationship with Crew 115 continues, There are talks of an Expedition to Desolation Sound in 2022, and continued sea kayak trainings in the San Juan’s. If you see them and their awesome kayaks on the water, give ’em a wave!