The sun was setting as I paddled onto the shore in a lovely rental kayak.
It was a heavenly beautiful ride.
Pulling in next to me was a family of five – all on their rental paddleboards. I had passed them on the water and the kids were laughing and having a blast.
And also pulling in was an older couple in a rental canoe.
They were all smiles.
But it wasn’t always like this for me.
I’ve lived next to beautiful Kootenay Lake for years and years and used to look longingly at the people I saw out on the water.
I wanted to paddle board, I wanted to kayak, I wanted to canoe.
But I didn’t have any of those things.
And in fact, I knew many families that also looked out on the water longingly, wanting to be out there, and wanting to get their kids out there as well.
But that all changed this year.
This year the local taxpayer funded Recreation Commission introduced a paddling program through Nelson and District Community Complex, and for the first time gave everyone access to be out on the water.
It is very affordable. It only cost me $7.00 for that two hour paddle.
Punch passes are available for an even better deal and there are family rates for an even better deal.
Earlier this summer I had been in another BC community on a big lake. There was no program from their community centre and it was $20.00 for 1 hour to get out on the water. Fine for tourists, but not for many of the citizens who live there.
Paddling is relaxing, calming, and gets you up close and personal with all kinds of waterfowl and fish. (Aside from being fabulous exercise)
The play of light and cloud on the water, and the challenge of wind and waves adds just enough excitement if you’re up for a little adrenalin rush.
It’s good for your body, good for your immune system, good for your emotional well being, and good for your soul.
Getting people out on the water helps to build healthy families and communities
I only had one week off this summer, but being able to get out on the lake for a few hours before or after work made my summer feel like a long holiday.
According to Alan (the wonderfully helpful young man who dispensed the watercraft as well as words of paddling wisdom) the program was so well utilized that they were getting more boats and expanding the program. Good for them!!!
So the next time you’re thinking of doing something with your family, look around your community to see if there is something inexpensive, rewarding and fun you can do.
Family outings don’t need to be travelling out of town with the kids and spending a bazillion dollars on “Disneyland” rides and crappy junk food.
Sometimes it’s the simple inexpensive outdoor pleasures with your kids that make for the fondest memories and happiest times you’ll spend with your family.
PS: I have so much appreciation for the NDCC program and to all those responsible for its success. It’s benefits will “ripple” through our community for years. Sometimes I really do love paying taxes!