Providence Day Paddling Club

"I was impressed by his progress, and proud that I was able to expose a friend to the joys of the river."

- Jake Skardon

Background Information

When Jake Skardon left Alzar School, he had grand plans for his CLP (Cumulative Leadership  Project).  The  original plan was to build, from the ground up, a whitewater paddling community between all the Charlotte, North Carolina high schools.  Concerned about a lack of resources and the difficulty initiating programs in other schools, he whittled down from the “Charlotte Youth Paddling Society” to the “Providence Day Paddling Club” to provide opportunities for students at his school to learn about whitewater kayaking.

Implementation of the Project

Jake started small spreading the word, mostly amongst his friends, that he had started a whitewater paddling club.  In mid-February, he hosted an information session during lunch, with about ten kids joining. He set up a first roll clinic, in a friend’s pool.  I didn’t know what to expect; most of the kids had minimal outdoor experience, so I knew that I would have to exercise some patience, and that some of them might not even like kayaking. In early March, the club headed out to the US National Whitewater Center, an artificial whitewater park in Charlotte.

“Rushing students into situations that might overwhelm them was not the way to go. It had been such a long time since I was a beginning kayaker, that I had forgotten how difficult getting used to whitewater was.  After learning my lesson… I knew that I would have to take it slow on the whitewater.”
– Jake Skardon

Results of the Project

During the course of his project, Jake had participation of 5-7 new paddlers in his club.  Club members participated in roll sessions, visited the Charlotte Whitewater Park, and took short trips to rivers in Western North Carolina.

“Over the course of June, we took [a club member] down the Lower Green (class 2), the Nantahala (class 2-3), and the Pigeon (class 3-3+). I was impressed by his progress, and proud that I was able to expose a friend to the joys of the river.”
– Jake Skardon

What’s Next?

Jake looks forward to continuing the club for the following school year.  Recently, the paddling club has gained a little more traction.  Through word of mouth, more of friends have come to him with interests in kayaking.  He has high hopes for the Providence Day Paddling Club. For the next school year, he plans on working with the Upper School Head and friends to aggressively promote the club, and hopefully expand it to more of the general student body.