Volunteer weekend at the Cowichan River Youth Kayaking Festival

This event took place on the traditional lands of the Hul’qumi’num treaty group which includes the Stz’umiuns, Quw’utsun, Snuneymuxw, and Coast Salish people.

The weekend of April 22-24th a group of 41 youth, from around Vancouver Island and the interior of BC, gathered on the banks of the Cowichan river supported by a group of volunteers organized by Dan Norman. This event has been going on for a few years, however, like many, it had hit a bit of a pause over the last 2 years. It was great to get back out and see a lot of smiling youth enjoying the moving water that the Cowichan river provides.

Friday night in the pool – Wet exits and roll pratice

The morning of Saturday started out well with a good breakfast of french toast and sausages. Coffee set up by Darin and organizing gear. Volunteering on the river ended shortly after that with a trip, stumble, and then me crashing into the ground on my right shoulder. After getting a wee assessment by an ER doc who was helping out. It was going to be a driving and photo weekend for me.

Thomas set up for the final drop on Marie Canyon

The youth and adults were pretty stocked after a grand day. The Brentwood crew cooked up a dinner of pasta, salad, and garlic bread. Camping out overnight, ready for the adventures tomorrow.

In the afternoon of Sunday, the final event is a group paddle of all the youth putting in below Skutz falls and running down to the big eddies below the bridge. It is a pretty fun show of color on the river with around 60 paddlers hitting the water. With a split of advanced, intermediate, and beginner paddlers in each group it works out with very few swims. The volunteer instructors spread out to provide rescues and help out if need be.

A big congratulations to Dan Norman for putting the event on. Thanks to Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society for the Support. Thanks to the Volunteers. Thanks to NRS, Western Canoeing and Kayaking, and Fjallraven for some prizes. Looking forward to next year already.

Future paddlers in the making. These young guys came all the way from Quesnel for this event.
Group of stoked Youth and Volunteers at the end of the CRYKF 2022

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