ORCKA Certification

Getting my ORCKA certification was never one of my goals. But I found myself out this weekend attempting to get ORCKA level 4, Solo canoeing certification. And this time I’m with fellow Guider and two new Pathfinders, an 11 and 12 year old.

What I discovered, is that I love it! Solo canoeing is for me. It’s so peaceful.  The group of women and youth I was with was inspiring and motivating. This helped a great deal.


Challenges include 8 hours or more hours on the water in day 1 and about 4 hours on day 2. Wind is also a major challenge.  Each day I’ve done ORCKA certification, we’ve had to work against and with the wind. The lighter you are the more challenging it is. The last major challenge, especially for solo paddling is the kneeling.

Besides finding my solo stride on Saturday evening, a few off-water activities were quite inspiring. One was learning some history and legends of canoeing in Canada and the other was watching a film about female canoeist and artist, Becky Mason. To cap the evening off, 4 of our instructors who had completed Canadian Style Paddling ORCKA, presented their synchronized canoe dance.


In the end the girls earned the ORCKA II. It turned out that when I completed ORCKA IV, it meant I completed the ORCKA Basic Level course. My daughter, one of the girls, had her own special canoe story. When she returned to her canoe on Sunday morning and got out into the water she realized they had an added guest. A spotted salamander had taken up residence, which she thought was so much fun. Thankfully it didn’t go the other way.

For me, I found new artistic inspiration in painting canoe and camp life.




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