Registration for PaddleALL is now open!
Welcome to Abenaki Aquatic Club and our PaddleALL Program! We are so excited to have you join us on Bell Lake this summer and can’t wait to share some smiles with you. In 2020, Abenaki celebrated 50 years of paddling and fun. With our new PaddleALL program, we can finally share our sport with even more members in our community and give them the chance to paddle! ANY BOAT, ANY BODY.
What is Paddle-All at Abenaki?
Paddle-All is a project introduced by Canoe/Kayak Canada. It is a program aimed at promoting participation in the sport of sprint Canoe/Kayak for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Recreational and sprint canoes and kayaks are used to introduce paddlers with intellectual and physical disabilities to the sport. The program includes a safety orientation, technical instruction, and instruction by experienced coaches.
Abenaki is a competitive and recreational paddling club (canoe and kayak). We are the only club on Bell Lake, so our paddlers and swimmers don’t have to share the lake with anyone. During the day, we offer practices to different age groups of paddlers, and it can be pretty busy with hundreds of kids on the lake and on the beach. With that in mind, we will host the PaddleALL practices in the evenings and possibly weekend mornings when we can have the property pretty much to ourselves.
Abenaki has a clubhouse and boathouse with partially accessible washrooms and some change rooms. We have an onsite basketball court, sandy beach and multiple docks. Although we have a parking area with designated spots, there is still a gravel hill to navigate, so that is something to keep in mind.
Participants aged 5+ will be welcome to register. Depending on registration numbers, we can’t guarantee that your child will be paddling with someone the same age, but we will do our best to have groups of paddlers with similar ages whenever possible.
All equipment used in our dry land and on water practices will be provided to paddlers by the club. We have PFD’s, paddles, kayaks and canoes specifically for the Paddle-All program.
We recommend that you bring a towel, change of clothes, proper footwear and snack/ drink. Remember that your paddler will probably get wet, so make sure to dress them appropriately.
Coaches and Volunteers
Our plan is to have enough trained experienced coaches to run our practices under the direction of the Paddle-All Head Coach. For paddlers who need a little more supervision, our plans are to provide 1:1 coaching. For those participants who are more confident, we may have a coach take on a very small group for both the paddling and dry land training.
⦁ All of our coaches have their Coaching qualifications
⦁ We plan to have a Certified Lifeguard trained in CPR, as well as a Safety Boat operator
on site during on water practices.
⦁ All Volunteers will have their Police Background Checks up to date.
⦁ Unfortunately, siblings will not be allowed to paddle at the same time due to equipment
Restrictions. (there may be exceptions to this rule depending on volunteer availability)
What you can expect once you register:
During registration, we will provide you with a medical/information questionnaire where we will ask you to provide a bit of information specific to your child. As everyone is unique, we want to make sure we make our program specific to your participant! Please take this opportunity to tell us all about your amazing paddler. It will help us find the perfect coaching match and help us have the right size of equipment ready.
We will then be in touch with available dates and times and set up an orientation day. During Orientation, we will review our safety measures, offer a tour, and review rules that all paddlers and families must adhere to for the safety of all.
Safety First AT ALL TIMES!
⦁ PFD’s MUST be worn by everyone on the water at all times and must be left on until
they are out of the boat on the dock.
⦁ Participants may NOT go past the swim dock until there is a safety boat on the water.
We will do our best to accommodate all physical and emotional needs. We strive to work with you to make sure we offer the best program for your paddler and we will rely on you to share insight about your paddler to help us along the way. Once on the water, your paddler will have a chance to experience kayaking and canoeing in single and team boats. We will start with short paddles and let your paddler’s confidence dictate how far they want to venture out onto the lake and for how long! A safety boat will be on the water whenever paddlers are on the water to help any possible tippers! Please Note: tipping happens and we are trained to help. It’s important that you talk to your paddler ahead of time and explain that they will likely get wet. Please let them know that they are safe and our staff will always be close by.
*New for 2022*
As our program grows we continue to need volunteers to help keep it going free of charge. In the event we are short for volunteers we will allow participants to have ONE support person from their family or a close family friend go out on the water to paddle. We kindly ask families to advise us during registration about who their support person will be. This individual will then be contacted prior to the start of the season to receive training from our Head Coach. If you don’t have a support person you can rely on - don’t worry! We will have trained volunteers and coaches on site to help wherever needed.
If your paddler is feeling confident going out on the water in a group with our safety boat then you will not need a support person on the water with them.
As the summer progresses, we may have a discussion as to whether your paddler is happy staying in a recreational track, or if they have a competitive drive. ADCKC offers fun regattas in the summer where competition between other clubs takes place. Additionally there are National level competitions that may be an option to participate in.
*New for 2022*
Those paddlers who show confidence on the water and a desire to race may be invited to attend Canoe ‘22 which is being held on Lake Banook. Our division is incredibly proud to offer this opportunity and we hope that the exposure on a world class scene will help create even more opportunities across the country for our PaddleALL athletes. Stay tuned for more details!
The Special Olympics offers canoe and kayak racing and may be something that can be looked into in the future as well. We are excited to follow your paddler’s lead. If the interest is there to pursue the sport then our coaches will turn it up and start training your paddler. If participants are happy to just paddle for fun and for leisure, we will support that too! Everyone involved in PaddleALL deeply loves the sport and being on the water. PaddleALL participants are different from year to year and we are ready to roll with anything our athletes want to do.
*New for 2022*
This year we will be offering PaddleALL 4 evenings/week as we are expanding and trying to provide many more participants the chance to join.
Participants will sign up for ONE evening/week. We will continue to offer small groups which will allow for our staff and volunteers to provide quality coaching and support to all involved. Those athletes who are training to compete will be contacted to discuss additional practice times for their competition training needs.
Practice Times: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Parents/Caregivers will be required to stay on the property while practice is in session.
There are number of good spots to set up a beach chair and watch/cheer on your paddler!
If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact:
Program Coordinator & Club Commodore
Head Coach & Program Leader
Assistant Head Coach & Program Assistant
“My name is Madison Hamilton and I will be the Head Coach this summer at Abenaki Aquatic Club. I have graduated from Dalhousie University with an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and am currently completing my B.Ed at Acadia University. I have been coaching the sport of paddling for 11 year's and competed in the sport for 16. My passion for inspiring youth and creating adaptable environments has lead me to the career path of coaching and teaching. I have such a love for the sport of paddling and making it accessible to everyone is an important part of what Abenaki is all about.
I have volunteered with Abenaki’s PaddleALL program in the past, and am extremely excited to lead this program and create a safe, comfortable and FUN environment for everyone!”
"My name is Emily Parsons, I am 18 years old and I have been paddling since I was 4! I started paddling at Abenaki and have been in love with this beautiful lake ever since. I am so very excited for the summer to come and to start the PaddleAll program, I’m so excited to meet new friends and show others how much fun we can have on the water! I am excited to be apart of the PaddleAll program because this group is so passionate and willing to give things a try, the connections we will make as a team will be incredible. Counting down the days until it begins and looking forward to meeting all of you!"
" Having the chance to work one-on-one and sharing my love for the water and kayaking is something I look forward to every single week.
— Maddy Hamilton