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When people see us on the river, they always assume we are a school … at a minimum there are 5 paddlers, at most there are 10! We try to balance our days with fun (epic) paddling for the older kids and fun (and safe) paddling for the younger kids. With kids, everything is fun, they can never be accused of turning anything unnecessarily into work. And kids love water, it’s almost a natural environment for them!! Drop ’em in a river with the appropriate safety gear and they are little fish. We teach our kids to kayak simply by having a blast on the river. No pressure, no real goals in mind except to share our love of the river with them. If they want to boof a little rock, by all means go for it. If they want to surf a wave, have at it. If they want to roll and pull their skirts, do it! That’s a great skill to have and gets them comfortable being upside down! They are always doing wacky things in their kayaks! Always. From standing up inside the boat and paddling to playing chicken to practicing tricks on the trampoline — they are not following some careful regime, it’s just pure fun. But, unbeknownst to them, every minute they are on the river they are learning new skills that build confidence and lead to a lifelong love of the water. Our older kids who paddle competitively are out there because it is fun. What they say they love about kayaking is that even practice is fun. 8 hours on a wave practicing a McNasty is fun, the adrenaline charge they get from paddling a difficult run is fun. Keep it fun, keep it light and your kids will be accompanying you on the water for years to come – there’s just no way you’ll ever get them out … and that, my friend, becomes your new struggle!! 🙂