Earlier this week I had the pleasure of working with the fantastic staff from the Water Adventure Centre in Droylsden.
A little bit about the Centre and its staff.....
"The Water Adventure Centre is a vibrant youth centre with a difference. Our exciting activities focus on building confidence and self-esteem, whilst encouraging children and young people to take responsibility for themselves, others and our environment. "
For many of the staff this was their first time on the river and even though they have a large amount of experience on flat water, they hadn't yet ventured out onto the moving stuff!
After a good warm up and some skills training on the flat we got ourselves started on the river! The staff took to it so well and it was incredible to see the grins from ear to ear as they had their first attempts at ferry gliding, breaking in and out and took on the tricky challenges that they faced in the river.
The staff from the centre were so easy to work with because they had the right attitude. They got themselves fully involved and each gave it their best. There was plenty of swims throughout the day, but there was even more smiles! As soon as they came out of their boat, they emptied it, got back in again straight away and was immediately asking what they were doing next!
Often when delivering outdoor based sessions, we focus so much on the technical ability of an individual or client, rather than their development as a person. However the staff at the Water Adventure Centre have things the right way round and focus on using water based activities as a tool to engage their young people and clients in positive activities rather than trying to turn them into the next olympic paddler. From my time spent working with challenging young people in the outdoors, this is a philosophy that I certainly can understand. The staff at the Water Adventure Centre know that paddlesports for their young people is simply the vehicle, rather than the destination.
It was superb to work with some inspiring staff who really seemed to get a taste for whitewater, Im sure they'll be out again soon!
More information on the Water Adventure Centre can be found here http://www.wateradventurecentre.org.uk/