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PaddleALL disabilities program


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Registration for PaddleALL for 2024


Welcome to Abenaki Aquatic Club and our PaddleALL Program! With our 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.

General Information


Abenaki is a competitive and recreational paddling club (canoe and kayak). We are located on the beautiful Bell Lake, where we majorly occupy the lake, with a few neighbors coming down to swim at various openings around the lake. During the day, we offer practices to age groups of paddlers across a wide age range; it can become quite busy with hundreds of kids on the lake and on the beach throughout those times. With that in mind, we host our PaddleALL practices in the evenings and potentially weekend mornings when the property is much quieter.

The Abenaki property has two main buildings, a clubhouse and boathouse. The clubhouse has partially accessible washrooms, some change rooms, and an open common area. The boathouse houses all of our equipment. We have multiple outside facilities including an onsite basketball court, sandy beach, sand pit, swim area, and multiple docks. Although we have a parking area with designated spots, to access the lake there is a gravel hill to navigate, something to keep in mind as this may pose some challenges.

Age Groups

Participants aged 5+ will be welcome to register for the PaddleAll program. 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. If your paddler has any of their own equipment, they are welcome to bring it to their practice. We recommend that you bring a towel, change of clothes, proper footwear, and snack/ drink. Remember: we will be actively on the water and likely getting wet, so make sure to dress them appropriately.

About PaddleALL

Paddle-All is a nationally recognized program introduced by Canoe/Kayak Canada to promote participation in the sport of sprint canoe and kayak for individuals with unique intellectual needs. At Abenaki, this inclusive program aims to provide a supportive and engaging environment for paddlers with diverse abilities. The Paddle-All program at Abenaki includes several key components:

Program Components


1. Safety Orientation:

Participants receive a comprehensive safety orientation to ensure they understand basic safety procedures while on the water. This includes instructions on wearing life jackets, understanding water conditions, and emergency protocols.


2. Technical Instruction:

Paddlers are provided with auditory and visual instruction to learn proper paddling techniques for both recreational and sprint canoes and kayaks. This helps them develop the foundational skills necessary for safe and effective paddling. Coaches will work to accommodate all types of learners to ensure basic skills are attainable.


3. Coaching:

Experienced coaches offer personalized instruction and guidance throughout the program. They work closely with participants to help them improve their skills, build confidence, and enjoy the paddling experience.


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.


Other FAQ

⦁ All of our coaches have their Coaching qualifications

⦁ We 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, family members accompanying your PaddleAll athlete will not be able to paddle during practice times due to equipment availability (there may be exceptions to this rule depending on volunteer availability).


Registration Process:

When you register for the Paddle-All program, we will provide you with an “Athlete Information Sheet”, which will allow you to include all important details about your child such as medical info, how your child learns best, what kind of support they need, and any other information you would like us and our coaches to know. This information sheet allows us to best tailor our program, equipment, and coaching to meet your athletes' needs to make this experience as beneficial as possible.




After registration, we will contact you with your practice time time. Our first session will include:

  • Review of safety measures.

  • Offer a tour of our facilities

  • Go over the rules that all paddlers/families must follow to ensure everyone's safety.

  • Safety First!


PFD Requirements:

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) must be worn by everyone on the water at all times and should only be removed once participants are safely on the dock. Safety Boat: Participants are not allowed to go past the swim dock until a safety boat is present on the water.

We employ an array of young people who often times have grown up at Abenaki and return to work here each summer. We are able to employ younger youth in entry level positions as well as University students. We hire staff to do lawn care, gate security, coaching, canteen, lifeguarding and also management positions. Our positions enable our youth to advance within the club as they gain valuable working experience. We are committed to fostering their growth and providing learning opportunities as they navigate the working world in what is often their first job.

Practices & progression

We aim to give your paddler the best possible experience in this sport as we will give the opportunity to try both kayaking and canoeing, in single and team boats. We start with short duration paddles, allowing your paddler’s confidence to dictate how far they venture out onto the lake and for how long.


A safety boat will always be on the water during paddling sessions to assist in case of any tipping incidents. Please talk to your paddler ahead of time to prepare them for the possibility of getting wet, reassuring them that our staff will always be close by to help.

As our program grows, we continue to rely on volunteers to keep it running free of charge. In the event we are short on volunteers, we will ask to have a support person from their family or a close friend accompany them on the water if needed. Families should indicate on the information form if they have a support person. This individual will receive additional instruction on water sporting from our Head Coach at your athletes first practice. If you don't have a support person, don't worry! We will have trained volunteers and coaches available to assist as needed.


If your paddler feels confident paddling in a group with our safety boat, they will not need a support person on the water with them.


Program Progression


As the summer progresses, we will discuss with you whether your paddler prefers to stay on a recreational track or pursue a more competitive path. The ADCKC offers fun regattas in the summer, where clubs compete against each other, and there are also National level competitions that your child may be interested in. Additionally, the Special Olympics includes canoe and kayak racing, which could be an option in the future.


We are excited to follow your paddler’s lead. Whether they are interested in competitive training or simply paddling for fun and leisure, our coaches are here to support them. Everyone involved in Paddle-All loves the sport and being on the water, and we are ready to adapt to the interests and needs of our athletes each year.

Summer Schedule

Practice Times: 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (additional days if necessary).


Participants will sign up for ONE evening per week.

Small group sizes will be maintained to ensure personalized coaching and support. Athletes training for competition will be contacted to arrange additional practice times to meet their training needs.


Parental Involvement:

Parents and caregivers are required to stay on the property during practice sessions. There are several good spots around the property where you can set up a beach chair to watch and cheer on your paddler.


This structure ensures that every participant receives quality coaching and support, fostering a safe and encouraging environment for all. We look forward to welcoming new and returning paddlers to our expanded Paddle-All program!



If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Emily Parsons

Head Coach & Program Coordinator


Jen Mosher

Program Liasson & Club Commodore

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"My name is Emily Parsons, I am 20 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

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