Keep On Paddling!

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Our participant Isis wrote about her experience whitewater kayaking for the first time during a course organised by Montreal’s kayak club (CCKEVM) with logistical support from Plein air interculturel. Thank you Isis for this inspiring text!

“When I saw the announcement for this activity, my heart jumped. I’d been wanting to try whitewater kayaking for now a few years, and was about to build up the courage to finally register for a pool course with CCKEVM just prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. But it was not meant to be that way. Once presented with this unique opportunity through the support of Plein Air Interculturel (PAI) I knew I had to do it, and that it wouldn’t be a decision or sacrifice I’d regret. The idea of camping with PAI peers, safely learning a new skill in a trusted group, and bonding over a physically demanding experience was appealing. The entire 4 days proved to be that and much more- a memory for a lifetime, the welcome into a close-knit community as that which is the Montreal-area/Quebec whitewater kayakers. Volunteers who share their passion in a contagious way! 

Quebec’s rivers carry a rich history, expertly paddled by indigenous communities and settlers, leading to flourishing trade and communities that exist to this day; exploring a new area added to the excitement and deeper learning of our region within this thrilling interactive context. 

There are not enough words to describe how beautiful and memorable those two weekends turned out- to be able to share with like-minded folks, focusing on our similarities in spite of our diverse backgrounds and individual stories while learning from each other and challenging ourselves well beyond our comfort zones. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity, what a wonderful idea and finesse in execution. Following the events of these past years, the disorientation and disconnectedness it brought upon us on an individual and societal levels, the importance of continuing to create and build communities remains more relevant than ever. This was a moment to cherish and I’m grateful to Plein Air Interculturel and CCKEVM for making this special experience possible. I went in not knowing any of the participants on either group and came out with new friends and skills! As we were repeatedly instructed during those days, ?keep on paddling!? Pagaie, pagaie, pagaie!”

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