July 14-18, 2021
"This place will change your life"
I took up whitewater kayaking at a pool course in the winter of 1981. The class consisted of a few evening sessions in the pool and then a graduation day trip down Connecticut’s Housatonic River. I was hooked. Almost every weekend that first season was spent paddling New England rivers with my instructor Fiona McKnight. We were married soon after. Around 1983 I took a weekend canoe lesson with Tom Foster at The Outdoor Center of New England. Tom was then the chair of the ACA’s National Instruction Committee (now the SEIC) . Tom was always looking for the “why” we do something and an answer of “that’s how we’ve always done it” was never acceptable. He passed on the concept of “don’t just give me your opinion, give me your evidence” In 1996 I met Nigel Dennis and became involved with the BCU (now BC) system and that opened up a whole new level of sea kayaking and coaching. I dabble with canoes and SUPs and have paddled sea and whitewater kayaks across the US, Belize, Ireland and Wales.
ACA Level 5 Coastal Kayak Instructor
ACA Level 4 Whitewater Instructor
ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor
BCU Level 4 Sea Coach
BC Advanced Sea Kayak Leader (formerly called 5 Star Sea Leader)
BC Canoe Leader
BC Foundation Safety & Rescue Training Provider
Wilderness First Aid
Who am I?
I’ve got a trip to a Tibeten mountaintop to try and figure that out.
My GLSKS Story
My first exposure to the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium was way back in (I think 1987) when it was held in Traverse City. I was living on the east coast and was working on the ACA’s Coastal Kayaking Committee (actually before their was an official Coastal kayaking discipline). Stan Chladek was also on the committee and invited me to TC to teach and have some meetings about the new curriculum that was in development. I came to Grand Marais for the first time in one of the mid 90’s symposiums attending the BCU Week that Stan had organized prior to the symposium. I’ve since been a part of another 8 or 10 BCU Weeks and symposiums.
So many of the visiting British coaches initially had the attitude of “Oh, we’re sea kayaking on a lake, isn’t that quaint” but they all left with the attitude of “ooooooh, now I understand why they’re called Great Lakes”. The symposium is a great opportunity for sharing ideas with other coaches, to be mentored and to be a mentor. So many of us tend to coach most of the time in relative isolation. Getting exposed to fresh ideas that we wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to is super important for our continued growth as coaches and GLSKS offers the opportunity for that to happen.