On a lovely Thursday in half-term, eleven young people and staff members met in the morning to start their journey from Lambeth to South Hackney to go on a new adventure. Our destination was the Labernum Boat Club at the Regents Canal.
Labernum Boat Club is a voluntary organisation ran by local people. On their website, it says they aim “to provide opportunities for the personal development of children, young people and their families”.
Since it was a super warm day, the group atmosphere was quite relaxed when we travelled packed with water bottles, snacks and sun cream to the Regents Canal. On the commute, some young people mentioned they are a bit afraid of the falling into the water and are not sure how confident they’ll be with kayaking on the canal. However, they all wanted to have a look and try it out!
Strengthened from some snacks and sandwiches, the two instructors from Labernum Boat Club welcomed the group and gave a short introduction. Then, in pairs, the young people carried their kayaks down to the canal. Even the young people who mentioned they were a bit scared, at least wanted to try it out. Therefore, one by one went on the kayaks and started to paddle. Some of the young people just quickly jumped into the kayak while others were struggling a bit in the beginning with their confidence on the water and keeping their kayak in a straight line.
The instructors planned some really exciting activities. Yet as the confidence of the group differed – so for example, some drove faster than others – it was a bit tricky to get everyone together to properly introduce and to involve them in the games. Thinking back to Temeka who is currently doing a placement at SLRA, said that “the activity with the greatest success was one where we had to paddle up to one another and splash each other – using hands, not oars.”
Some of the young people became really excited throughout the session and ending up jumping the water. At the same time, some people who were a bit afraid in the beginning, learned how to navigate their kayak and got more relaxed from minute to minute. The games might not have turned out the way they were planned, it was still great to see how much the young people enjoyed their time!
“Seeing the smiles and the laughter of the young people ensured me that they still greatly enjoyed their time in the water and loved the experience. Even (almost especially) those without a change of clothes!”
It was definitely a great adventure in the sun for the youth group; where in the end, everyone was a bit tried but mostly happy and proud.
“I really like kayaking because it was fun, great and fantastic but I was a bit scared of the water!”