Sunday, May 3, 2009

Upstream with a paddle project!

Upstream with a Paddle Program
An initiative of the Inland Outrigger Canoe Club
What is the Program all about?
The Inland Outrigger Canoe Club, in partnership with the Echuca Police, Echuca Regional Health and various other
local community groups, has initiated an exciting Program to be known as ‘Upstream with a Paddle’.
This program has been developed in response to a growing community need which has been identified by
members of the local police force, those at Echuca Regional Health and teachers at our local schools. It has
become evident that there is a significant increase in the number of youth in our region who are either
disadvantaged or have become disengaged from education, skills training or employment. The Upstream with a
Paddle program will aim to assist these youth and re‐engage them with mainstream society before they slip
through the cracks.
Who will the Program target?
Specifically, the Program will target local disadvantaged and disengaged youth aged between 12 and 17 who need
some support to get their lives back on track. As part of the Program, participants will have the opportunity to
become part of an exciting sporting club where they will be trained in outrigger canoeing and assessed on their
swimming and canoeing ability, all in preparation for the renowned annual YMCA Murray Marathon.
The Marathon has been running for some 40 years and is a 5 day, 404km canoe race along the Murray River. The
experience of being involved in the Marathon is both challenging and empowering, and by getting some of our
local youth involved, we are giving them a task to focus on that will teach them some invaluable life skills along the
way.
What will participants learn?
At any one time, there will be six paddlers in each canoe, all learning how to work as a team. Each paddler must
learn the different positions of the canoe, of which each has a different function, role and responsibility to the
success of the team. Participants will learn important skills such as leadership, sportsmanship, teamwork and
respect for others.
All participants will also have the opportunity to paddle alongside some very respected members of the local
community, including police, those in the health services industry and teachers, all of whom can mentor these
youth to ensure they do make the most of the opportunity given to them. This networking opportunity will also
serve them well in the future when the participants are seeking training or employment positions.
As an added bonus, all participants will have the opportunity to train and compete in outrigger canoeing,
improving their health, wellbeing and fitness levels.
Who is involved in the Program?
The Program is an initiative of the Inland Outrigger Canoe Club, in partnership with the Echuca Police and Echuca
Regional Health. It is also hoped that other community orientated organisations such as yours will provide support
for the Program to ensure that it can get off the ground.
What does the project involve?
Before the Inland Outrigger Canoe Club can commence the Upstream with a Paddle Program, some crucial
equipment must be purchased, including a customised lightweight 6 person canoe, life jackets, paddles, a canoe
trailer, camping gear and funds to contribute to the entry costs involved in competing in the Murray Marathon.
Applications for funding for these items are currently being made, but require your support!
How can you help?
By providing us with a letter of support for the Upstream with a Paddle Program to include with our applications
for funding! If you are able to provide any other form of support that would also be greatly appreciated!

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