Kayaking has been part of Power To Be’s program offering for over 20 years, and during that time we have explored the waters around Victoria and Vancouver. Thanks to recent support from the BC Rehab Foundation and the Quiet Cove Foundation, we are ready to continue our exploration with new and updated equipment.

Part of what makes our kayak programs so valuable is that we are able to adapt the sport for all levels of ability. Kayaking is unique in that it is a progressive adaptive sport: as a participant’s stability and strength increases in a kayak, they can become more independent. To support this progression, Power To Be uses pontoons which attach to the kayaks. Thanks to the BC Rehab Foundation, Power To Be was able to purchase a new set of pontoons that can be used on a single kayak. “Acquiring those pontoons has opened up more progressive opportunities for independent paddling in our kayaking programs. Prior to acquiring these new stabilizers for single kayaks, participants were paddling in a double kayak with pontoons and a volunteer in the stern. The next progression was the dramatic shift of trying out a single kayak without pontoons.” Sarah Glenn, Power To Be’s Logistics Coordinator, described “the jump from double to single can be a hard and tricky transition if unfamiliar with how a single kayak functions in the water. These pontoons add an extra layer of support or step of skill development towards independent paddling.”

By paddling in a single kayak with stabilizers, the participant can experience the stability and maneuverability of a single kayak in a safe and supported environment. Once that has been established, the participant can then choose to progress to self-propelled solo paddling if they wish.

The most important factor in our kayak program is our fleet. Recently, our Vancouver fleet has been showing signs of the wear on kayaks due to many years of constant use. “The kayaking program in Vancouver has very few expeditions, but in the summer, we can have five day-programs back to back which means our staff are lifting big, heavy, 15 year-old kayaks up and down the big hill to the water every day,” recounts Simon Parr, Power To Be‘s Vancouver Regional Manager. However, thanks to Quiet Cove Foundation, we have been able to purchase a new fleet of Vancouver kayaks for 2020. “Quiet Cove Foundation is proud to support the work of Power To Be. We believe strongly in their mission to not only bring people back to nature, but to also provide opportunities to play and explore in the outdoors, especially for those with physical limitations,” explained Emily-Anne King of the Quiet Cove Foundation.

We at Power To Be are so grateful for our amazing funders for their ongoing support of our paddling programs. With their generous contribution, more of our participants will be able to reach their goals while out on the water!

This blog post was written by Liz Brown, Power To Be’s Grants Associate. With experience in the nonprofit and adaptive recreation fields, Liz is passionate about connecting others to similar opportunities.