At the Boathouse June 23, 2011
(pictures by Jim Reim)

We had our first day with kids on June 23. We'd asked for no more than 20, aged 12 and up. We got 12 (which was good) aged 8-11, which was a little unexpected.

The first order of business was to get 'em outfitted with PFDs. This is how it looked to observers.

This is how it looked to me

PFDs on and it was time to hit the boats. Marlo (on the left) and Brina were very excited (and excitable.)

All the kids said they had boating/canoeing experience, but there was no experience in evidence. Step 1 was to demonstrate how to row. Notice Jaiden's keen interest.

After rowing came a paddling demonstration. Again, note Jaiden's unwavering focus on my instruction. (fortunately, our boats hold more than one child.)

Some kids learn by doing, some learn from modeling. Cade (the younger) picked up this stance from his mentor, Curt.

Rick, one of our master boat builders, set down the tools to help, and listens intently to Cade's concerns.

There's only so much talking you can do before it's time to put 'em in the boats and turn 'em loose. The girls took to canoeing like ducks to duck food.

Rowing is a completely different skill set from paddling, but Connor did just fine with Jaiden giving instructions and the Godwin twins, Tanner and Taylor, as supercargo.

The Depoe Slough makes a fine place for learning how to maneuver boats around.

It didn't take long for the us to figure out some boats would benefit from a little 'adult supervision.'

And some boats needed a little more hands-on help than others.

All in all, I'd say the on-the-water experience went very well.

Jim Reim, another of our volunteers, joined in the fun while helping Brina, Marlo, and Chelsea get a handle on the fundamentals of rowing.

Even Bud Shoemake, the harbor master for the Port of Toledo, came out to watch us paddle around.