July 2014: time for our first Waterklass, an educational program combining swimming lessons, SUP practice in pools and outdoor, all that being supported by an eco-leader to explain about aquatic ecosystems and the need to protect them.
The children from Alfortville summer camp were the first to take part in this project. Seeking new attractive ways to teach swimming, the sport teachers decided to add SUP to their classes.
After starting with some paddling in the pool, children joined the SUP Club in Joinville on the banks of the Marne in the east side of Marne, on July 8th. Getting started in real waters turned out pretty impressive. But after a few strokes, some children were already very at ease. Though they seemed to be fairly able to maintain their balance, falling in the water was even more fun… Do they care about the quality of the water though? well, at first, nobody really felt like jumping, of course…it is a brand new environment, it looks dark…and unknown. But the pleasure of being on the water got stronger. Perfect time to raise those issues: is it healthy? polluted? dirty with plastics or other litter? Those were the first questions asked by our eco-animator Loic. Children are evolving with swans and ducks, in the amazingly beautiful canal de Polangis. I can tell that the way they look at their surroundings has shifted. There is actually not much to say. Just by observing and questioning, they understand. Nature speaks for itself, just by being here. Faces look more concerned and conscious, may be a bit less innocent, before smiles and fun are back!! But for most children, who come from very urban areas and have rarely the occasion to go to the beach and connect with nature, I can see something has happened: they’ve been touched and surprised. They might even have experienced that great feeling of freedom!
Watertrek wants to use SUP as a regular tool to help discover and raise awareness on the need to protect aquatic environments, especially with children. Please feel free to contact us to organise new Waterklasses.