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Finding instructor certification courses.

A CA standards require every small craft aquatic activity to be supervised by a staff member who holds a current instructor rating in the craft being used. Unfortunately, instructor candidates are finding it difficult to locate instructor-level courses.

Historically, the American Red Cross has provided the greatest number of instructor-level courses, and their programs have consistently served as the example for ACA standards requirements. With the adoption of a new strategic plan by the American Red Cross, however, this avenue of instructor training will see tremendous change.

Called Service Delivery for the 21st Century or "SD21 ," the Red Cross's new plan has separated services into three priority levels, with disaster preparedness and emergency relief coming first. As a result, as of December 31, 1992, national funding for Red Cross small-craft programming ended.

Included in SD21 is a list of musts, shoulds, and mays for programming at the chapter level. Unfortunately, small craft instruction at both the student and instructor levels has been relegated to the may list. Local chapters may continue to offer programming in small craft provided they are successful in delivery of all musts and a certain percentage of shoulds.

Since there will no longer be national funding for research and development, the refinement of boating programs must be spearheaded at the local level. Chapters may choose not to offer boating at all; they may choose to develop a local program; or they may choose to share their locally developed materials with other chapters. Eventual course content and availability may vary greatly from chapter to chapter, but any marketed courses must go through an approval process to assure quality of programs. A few chapters have expressed interest in updating and marketing courses in canoeing, and one has indicated it is interested in maintaining materials in the area of sailing. However, it will not be incumbent upon any chapter to deliver those programs.

So what does all of this mean for the camp director?

* If your camp and staff have relied heavily upon the Red Cross in the past, now is the time to check with your local chapter about the future of smallcraft programs in your area. If the program in your area has a strong tradition, chances are it will remain.

* You may continue to get staff applicants whose Red Cross instructor certifications in sailing and canoeing/ kayaking are valid through December 31, 1994. But directing your staff to an available class may not be possible in certain areas after that date, and competency of Red Cross trained instructors will be dependent upon the thoroughness of local programs rather than the objectives of a nationally standardized curriculum.

* You must educate yourself about the training programs of other certifying bodies, many of whom are working to develop new instructor programs aimed at the camp market rather than at competition racing events.

* If you are lucky enough to have an instructor trainer from a nationally recognized program on your staff, you may want to loan him or her out to other camps in your section for staff training ! Current Training Options

In order to assist camp directors in their search for qualified boating staff and aid staff who are seeking certification, the following list of available training is provided as a resource.


American Canoe Association: The American Canoe Association is currently developing an instructor fundamentals course that specifically targets those who teach in camps. Certification as an Instructor of Paddling Fundamentals will be available in the spring of 1994. Current instructor certification is offered in flat water, moving water, and white water. These courses are progressive in nature, with successful completion of the preceding course being a pre-requisite to the next level. Candidates are evaluated in three areas: technical knowledge, teaching skills, and paddling ability. Canoeing and Kayaking, by Laurie Gullion, is the official instructor's text used. Certified instructors are required to join the American Canoe Association at a nominal cost. To locate an Instructor Trainer in your area, contact the American Canoe Association, 7432 Alban Station Blvd., Suite B226, Springfield, VA 22150. 703/451-0141.

Aquatic Council of AAHPERD: Still in development, the Aquatic Council's canoeing instructor courses, Canoeing and Advanced Canoeing, are designed to be taught primarily in college/university or symposium settings. Successful completion will earn the student the title Instructor of Canoeing. Interested students should check with their university Physical Education or Recreation departments to find out about the availability of courses. Information about the Aquatic Council can be obtained from Dr. Raymond A. Ciszek, Executive Director, ARAPCS, AAHPERD, 1900 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091.

American Red Cross: Some local chapters of ARC may be offering one or more of the following instrutor-level courses: Fundamentals of Canoeing, Basic River Canoeing, Fundamentals of Kayaking, and Basic River Kayaking. Although the materials have not been updated since 1981, the fundamental skills have not changed dramatically. Because the basic river classes only cover through class 2 water, the Red Cross recommends that anyone using a higher class water seek additional training.


U.S. Sailing: Level 1 Dinghy Instructor is the most appropriate certification for camp staff. If there is an emphasis placed on racing, the Level 2 Dinghy Instructor is more applicable. These courses are progressive, with successful completion of level 1 being a pre-requisite to level 2. If a camp has a number of larger boats, the Level 1 and 2 Keelboat Instructor courses are more relevant. The student text Start Sailing Right, written by Derrick Fries, is used in conjunction with both a corresponding instructor manual and the book Successful Coaching, written by Rainer Martens. Also available is an instructor level course in windsurfing that utilizes the text Start Windsurfing Right. All U.S. Sailing instructor candidates are required to have and maintain current first aid and CPR certification, and they must also join U.S. Sailing at a nominal cost. For more information or to arrange for an instructor course, contact Ginny Long, Training Director, U.S. Sailing, P.O. Box 209, Newport, R102 840-0209.401/849-5 200.

Aquatic Council of AAPHERD: Like the canoeing instructor courses, the Aquatic Council's Instructor of Sailing course is designed to be taught primarily in college/university or symposium settings. Successful completion will earn the student the title Instructor of Sailing. See the address under canoeing for more information.

American Red Cross: In 1988, the National ARC in conjunction with the United States Yacht Racing Union (USYRU, now U.S. Sailing) developed the text Start Sailing Right, which both organizations now use in their courses. Both the text and the accompanying ARC instructor's manual are relatively new and still being used regularly. Contact your local chapter to find out if classes are being offered in your area.


With the exception of badge requirements by the Boy Scouts of America, we are unaware of any current training materials in the area of rowing. The American Rowing Association, the national governing body for the sport of rowing, certifies coaches, but their emphasis is on competitive sliding-seat rowing.

The American Camping Association is currently developing camper curriculum guidelines for those who teach rowing in camps. Materials should be available by late summer of 1993.

Water Skiing

American Water Ski Association: AWSA offers Level 1 water ski instructor certification through a self-study course. Beginner two-ski, one-ski, and trick-ski teaching techniques are covered. Included in the instructors' manual is a chapter on proper boat driving and safety. Level 2 certification is a more advanced course for those interested in tournament skiing and requires attendance at a training course. Instructors of AWSA materials must join the association. More information can be obtained by contacting the American Water Ski Association, 799 Overlook Drive, Winter Haven, FL 33884. 813/324-4341.

National Water Ski Association: The National Water Ski Association also offers a self-study course for instructors. Instructional techniques and safe practices for boat drivers are covered. Designed specifically for use in camps, there are four levels of instruction for campers: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert, with instructor materials designed for each level. Barefoot skills are covered in the expert course. Camps wishing to enroll instructors in NWSA courses must join the Association. The address for the National Water Ski Association is P.O. Box 141, Odessa, FL 33556. 813/920-2160.

Note to Camp Directors: Due to the lack of a practical exam by either of these certifying bodies, on-site demonstration of skiing ability and driving skill should be required by camp directors. Because of the substantial amount of driving required by skiing instructors, it would be prudent for them to seek additional education in the area of motorboating. The American Camping Association is encouraging the above organizations to develop a practical element to water ski instructor certification.


United States Power Squadrons, Coast Guard Auxiliary Units, and State Boating Agencies: Instructor training by these organizations is not open to the general public, but anyone teaching motorboating or required to drive a safety boat as part of his or her job could benefit by taking one of these organization's theory courses. Boat handling and elementary seamanship, boat types and terms, registration, equipment, regulations, safe operation, state and local boating regulations, marlinespike seamanship, weather, charts and aids to navigation as well as regional boating specifics are covered.

Note to Camp Directors: Because there is no "practical test" in these courses, it is imperative that camp directors require demonstration of boat handling skills during on-site training. Call 800/245-BOAT for information about classes in your area.

The American Camping Association is currently developing camper curriculum guidelines for those who teach motorboating in camps. Materials should be available in late summer of 1993.

Laurie J. Porter is boating safety grant coordinator for ACA. She has worked in camps for 11 summers and taught sailing for eight.
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Title Annotation:training camp counselors for small-craft aquatic activities
Author:Porter, Laurie J.
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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