Canoe/Kayak Volunteers assist Naturalists on canoe/kayak trips for schools and the general public. Trips occur on weekends, weekdays, and evenings. Canoe/Kayak Volunteers are vital to the Estuary Center programs.
Canoe/Kayak Volunteers are asked to commit to specific trip dates as they become available. Seasonal trip schedules are sent to volunteers about one month prior to the first trip. The season is from late March through mid November; however, volunteers are not required to assist with a specific number of trips per year. A schedule is created seasonally so volunteers have the opportunity to work around their own schedule. Additional trips may become available on short notice and will also be offered to volunteers.
Canoe/Kayak Volunteers must have the following qualifications.
- strong canoe/kayak skills
- fit and able-bodied to handle walking distances while carrying boats, towing a boat with yours, lifting them over your head, boating in adverse conditions, etc.
- strong interpersonal skills to interact positively with the public
- ability to follow direction
- at least 5 years of prior canoe/kayak experience
- ability to properly tie knots to hold canoes/kayaks or willing to learn
- completion of a course by the American Canoe Assoc., the American Red Cross or similar organization
- arrive early to assist in taking canoes/kayaks out of shed and preparing for trip
- stay late to assist in putting canoes/kayaks and equipment away
- help participants with fitting their lifejackets
- tie and untie canoes/kayaks
- unload and load canoes/kayaks on trailer and carry them to put-in spot (includes lifting canoes/kayaks over head onto top rack of trailer)
- assists with launching canoes/kayaks
- the volunteer is the sweep, meaning they are always the last canoe/kayak and remain in this position for the duration of the trip
- in a positive and polite fashion, volunteer should assist participants with learning strokes and techniques
- during the trip, the volunteer should be on the lookout for any participants in trouble and assist when needed – this may involve switching participants from one boat to another in open water, towing a boat with yours, etc.
Training & Benefits
Volunteers will already have all the skills necessary (see Minimum Qualifications section above), but will receive specific training on our trip logistics and equipment. There are many benefits to becoming an *”active volunteer” at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, including seasonal volunteer appreciation trips, the annual volunteer dinner, skill and resume development, meeting new people, and lets not forget, spending time in a natural place (to mention just a few). *Please note: “Active volunteer” status is reached when you volunteer at least 20 hours a year.