Meet young mister “C”:
This young fellow (10 years old) came to us at the beginning of the 2009 season and he was an angry dude. Enough negative energy pouring out of him to knock down trees. At first we thought we would have to drop him from the program due to the negative effect on those around him. We can allow aggressive behavior regardless of the reason. And then I though to myself… Why drop him…. This is the kid who really needs what we offer.
The following week we encountered the same things and this time I took him aside and we had a talk.
A change of approach:
He did not like what I had to say but he listened anyway. Every time he got angry we encourage him to get angry but to direct his anger at the task in front of him. To channel all that energy into accomplishing a goal. Do not look back, look forward and take it out on the water. (Not being able to make it upstream is frustrating. It is also a great way to vent frustration!) The little guy let it out on the water. Lots of growling as he worked to guide his boat and make it do what he wanted it to do. Each week another lesson and each week more enthusiasm for paddling and, to his (and my) surprise some serious improvements. He controlled the boat and more and more he controlled his emotions.
What’s more, the littering stopped – the language softened and his tolerance for others on the water improved. By August he was on board. Getting there early with a smile on his face and so many questions.
In Valleyfield we saw what he was after and we let him take it. He loved running the river and when he rode with me in the Tandem he was thrilled. More importantly the growling was replaced by laughs and the anger was put aside. He also tells us he will be back next year. His next goal will be the roll.
At the time we hoped that his new self would continue then in November during our National Children’s Day event we saw what we hoped for. Mr. C came out without being asked and spent the time not as another kid playing in the pool but as a volunteer. He did not have to do this. We did not ask him. He wanted to and he did it! We are so very proud of him.
A teen going through all sorts of personal change.
He has been with us for several years and we have watched him grow, come out of his shell, express who he is and be happy with it. He was always a follower and in 2007 and 2008, on the water, he was doing all the right things for the wrong reasons.
In 2009 he grew a little more. He was respectful, helpful, great with the younger kids and showed an enthusiasm for paddling just because he can. No other reason. Another part of who he is and out there because it made him happy. Is there more from “J”? Yes. He too has come out and volunteered at our events.
Does not sound like much? Guess again. Expressing yourself, choosing something good an positive, then sticking with it because you want to is a huge step in personal development and the road to success. Well done J and looking forward to seeing him again next year too.
Create YOUR OWN success stories!
These are 2 examples of why we run the Youth Challenge Kayak Program. There are many more.
At the end of each season we stand before the children and answer the same question: Will we be back next year? The answer we give is a promise to be there for them: “Yes – we will come back and yes you are always welcome back with us”.