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Club Leader Development Program

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Being a Leader is not a title to be feared, but instead a set of personal skills to be embraced and shared with others.  Developing leadership skills is very much parallel to developing personal skills, and at the very least will allow paddlers to be more effective members of a paddling group, even if they don’t always assume an outright leader role for any given trip. Let’s get some basic questions answered right away.

Who is this program designed for? Any club member who wants to be more of an asset to the people they paddle with.  
How much experience is needed? None!  Obviously, the less experience a participant has, the more time they will need to develop.
What is the expected outcome? That will be dependent on each participant's aspiration, but the ultimate goal is to develop more confident paddlers, either with the knowledge and skills they want in order to to plan and post trips, or just be able to be more of an asset to a group as needed.
What is this program NOT about? We will not be "certifying" leaders as does some professional organizations like the ACA, British Canoeing, or AMC.  Instead, participants will be using the program to develop to their own comfort level and/or aspirations, hopefully to the benefit of both the individual and the club.

This program is also not designed to be a comprehensive one-and-done program to teach everything a person needs to be a leader on the water, but instead is intended to compliment other learning available to club members, such as weather, tides, first aid, and other various topics that are often offered as separate workshops.  We will instead concentrate on some core concepts to help members plan and execute safe and enjoyable trips in a variety of locations and conditions.  The program is structured in three parts as follows:


Theory Discussion: 

This will be about a two-hour long meeting (most likely remote for the time being) to discuss exactly what a “Club Leader” is compared to other types of leadership, and how It applies to NSPN specifically.  It is highly recommended to participate in the discussion before doing on-water training.


On-Water Day (Planning and Navigating)

  • Review trip planning and discuss making changes on the fly
  • Review of different navigation techniques and using various skills on the water


On-Water Day (Incident and Group Management)

  • Explore various types of incidents and how to approach dealing with them
  • Review both self- and assisted- reentry methods
  • Consider pros and cons of different towing techniques 
  • Discuss what kit to carry in PFD and in boat
  • Develop skills and techniques for minimizing risks and increasing safety balanced with enjoyment

The goal is to offer this program multiple times during the season, with each day on the water being an independent learning opportunity.  In other words, one on-water day is not a prerequisite to another. Also, the Theory Meeting is not a prerequisite as well, but it might be extremely useful to understanding the approach of the trainings.

Since members have varying backgrounds, experience; and knowledge, participants should be willing to share and receive learning from each other as well as the course leader.  If you are interested in participating in this program, please reply here or to the individual postings as they become available. If you are unsure about participating, please either post your questions here,  PM me or email [email protected] with your past experience and and current aspirations so that we can begin to discuss how you might fit into the program.

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