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By Billy Harris


I got the call from team Alberta kayak in the spring a fantastic program
designed to keep the youth of Alberta’s whitewater programming on the top of
the kayaking food chain. They hire some of the best Canada has to offer
(and me too when they run out of help) to come in and coaching their little
monsters in the art of kayaking. River running, play boating, river safety
the works. They learn how to run a river, get down while looking out for
their crew as they do. Knowing how to clear your buddy after each rapid,
packing the right gear, understanding all the signals before you go, knowing
when its safe to move from one location to another and the rules. Anyone
with kids learning how to paddle and run should be exposed to this kind of

This season I came out of BC. I showed up to a camp and mothers had the
place well in hand. Kiddies fed, on the water with Jackson athlete Saskia
of Moms are great, no matter where you go or what is
going on mothers are there to feed you. I was treated like a king. Nothing
like being taken care of by a mom or in this case 2, watching from shore
(mostly reading on shore). Food, words of advice cozy spot by the fire and
help with kiddies doing silly things like consuming whole bags of marsh
mellows, talking smack and being loud. ( I ate way to many marshmallows

The nice thing about teaching kiddies is their ability to (not) see life
from the terms of an adult perspective. They don’t’ know they can’t do
things, they don’t know that something is next to impossible they don’t know
that they should (by most people standard) feel fear during the learning
process. That applies for the most part with this group of kiddies, great
little paddlers, learning to surf, roll and run rivers. I had a great time
with them and they didn’t disappoint. Talented brave and funny they paddled
great. Its always a nice reminder of how each of us should be as adults.
We had fireworks, marsh mellows, and bad jokes and a wicked time on the
water as well. I attached some photos of the little monsters we are going
to compete against some day. check em out. All of them, talented, funny
and keen.

A couple teachers Rules of engagement

Each one of us comes to the poker table of life with a different pile of
chips. Some of us play with a sweet pile of chips and can take advantage of
that pile and take risks according to their size of their pile. Some people
come to the table with very few chips, and play cautiously accordingly
When the student with only few chips plays, the failure or loss of those
chips affects them emotionally more than the one with chips to spare.
Understanding the player is to understand the importance of failure and
success for the individual. Ask your learner about themselves, ask lots of
questions about what they do sports, etc. Each one of us needs to take
risks, mental, physical emotional for us to learn and grow as people. But
as a teacher we provide these risks in an environment that is safe (a
teachers perception) for the student or so we think. Teachers as I have
learned need to calculate the quantity of chips by the emotional reaction a
child has in the questioning process and the small steps during the learning

Underestimate the student’s pile of chips and the failure or succession of
failures, can lead to a world of fear that can span the rest of the
learner’s life. If you misjudge, that person will struggle in a state of
fear for their learning process.

For teachers, whomever you are teaching is a great responsibility. Do what
you can not to teach to fast, not to teach for yourself but the learner.
Many people teach without knowing what they could be responsible for. The
responsibility one has to being a teacher can determine the path of the
learner for the rest of his or her life. Instruct with care.

"now in BC"

Billy Harris

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