Having been on camp with my own cadets at Wathgill last week, I stayed up for another week to run the cadet kayak sessions that made up part of the adventurous training day.
The other instructors had already done 2 weeks worth of sessions before I arrived, so a routine had already been established for me to slot into – it was just a matter of getting used to the system and finding my role it.
On a full day, we’d have 6 groups of about 15 for an hour each. In reality, most days had a little slack and it was rare to actually have to deliver 6 sessions in a day.
Everyone would receive a safety brief at the start of the day. The Army likes to cover all bases in these, which leaves cadets thinking that they’re all going to end up in hospital or catch a disease from rat urine so, not surprisingly, there are often a few that are a little reluctant to get in a kayak. However, thankfully the sunshine tended to burn most of these thoughts away and the cadets were generally ready to get wet and cool down by the time they got to us!
When you’re running multiple sessions, you do tend to get into a routine and run very similar games and challenges each time. With one of the kayaking stands running water polo as it’s main focus, we decided to major on balance challenges and a few other games to keep everyone moving.
Most sessions started with a couple of rafted challenges. Either running around the raft, races around the raft or giving your kayak an Eskimo kiss where the most common to start with. However, as the week went on, we got a bit more creative and discovered the art of salmon impressions where the cadets would run along the raft and launch themselves off the end like a salmon jumping upstream. This turned out to be great fun and became a favourite.
Other games we used were ‘stuck in the mud’, ‘bulldog’, ‘world domination’, ‘all in’ and a swimming relay. All went down very well and the cadets seemed to have a great time. Some became exceptionally competitive and I often found myself being playfully attacked by groups of cadets determined to tip me out of my kayak – sometimes they succeeded.
A week on the water having fun with people that are up for getting wet is always great, and this week was no exception.