Paddlesport is a core activity at 1st Upper Dearne Valley Navigators. We aim to develop skilled paddlers capable of being safe and keeping their fellow paddlers safe.
Unlike many Youth Groups , Upper Dearne Valley Navigators do more than "taster sessions", in fact, we prefer not to run taster sessions because they give a false impression. We would rather young people tried out the courses that we offer under the Paddlesport banner and learned to kayak over a few sessions.
Sessions can start on open water, or at the pool sessions held at Scissett Baths over the winter months. The pool sessions are invaluable in developing the "wet" skills such as capsize, self rescue, x-rescue, and support strokes. After six sessions we often find absolute beginners carrying out self rescue with confidence and skill that belies their inexperience.
Our goal with kayaking and canoeing is to develop skills, and an awareness of ability and safety. Underlying these goals is the reality that learning to kayak helps young people come to terms with their fears and helps them learn how to overcome obstacles and barriers in life - this is a theme throughout much of our Navigators programme.
Kayaking sessions take place at Scissett Baths, Pugneys, The Calder and Hebble Canal and Burrs Country Park, Bury. We also try and find oportunities for our paddlers on suitably graded waters where they can develop skills and see the countryside from a different angle.
Initially, when friends heard of our shortage of equipment they loaned us an assortment of boats, and our coaches allowed the use of their personal equipment in addition to that borrowed from Hanging Heaton Scouts. This was not ideal though, as it created an inequality in boat performance with everything from tiny playboats through to larger creek boats. We still have access to many of those boats when required, but we are now close to being self sufficient in our paddlesport resources.
Upper Dearne Valley Navigators has developed its own fleet of boats. Initially we borrowed equipment from Hanging Heaton Scouts, and we thank the team there for all their support. In Autumn 2016 we were fortunate enough to gain funding from Sport England that has allowed us to purchase our own fleet of kayaks for training our members and other young people. The Grant allowed us to not only buy general purpose boats for use in the pool and on open water, plus all the ancillery equipment, but it also allowed us to buy four Polo Kayaks, adding to three that we had already bought and restored. We will now be able to offer safer kayak polo training in the pool as these boats are designed to be less harmful to the pool and to paddlers in the event of a collision ( which is a real posibility in kayak polo).