Wear a life jacket.
Don't rock the boat.
Paddle on the side you want to go toward.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Hanna Ruland, 10, paddled while Cassandra Guiffre, 9, enjoyed the ride on Tuesday at Chapman State Park. They were participating in a water safety course for youngsters in the Penn’s Adventures day camp Discover E program.
After a 45-minute water safety course, the 12 youngsters in the Penn's Adventures day camp Discover E program at Chapman State Park were ready to put the information to use.
The nine- through 12-year-olds heard from Chad Foster, northwest regional education specialist with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
He went over the basics.
"We talked about how to enter a canoe properly," Foster said. "Stay low. Don't stand up."
The students learned the names for the front and back (bow and stern) of a boat and "the different types of life jackets, how to pick a paddle," Foster said. Having a paddle that's too short - it should stand about as high as the paddler's nose - encourages the paddler to lean out to the side.
Once the kids were in the canoes, they practiced four strokes - forward and back paddling, the j-stroke and the sweep. "We were instructed on forward and backward, and how to steer," Cade McChesney, 12, said. "If both people paddle on the right, you go to the right."
"A few of them caught on pretty well," Foster said.
Hanna Ruland, 10, had to do most of the work in her canoe. "I did all the paddling," she said.
"I had fun," Cassandra Guiffre, 9, said. "I didn't paddle much."
That was mostly Ruland's idea. "She kept running us into rocks, people, and logs."
The youngsters spent most of an hour on the lake.
Ruland said she saw a green heron. Kaitlyn Hobbs, 10, said she saw fish and a beaver dam and enjoyed, "the great view."
She boiled the event down to a key component. "I had a lot of fun."
Discover E continues for two more days. On Wednesday, students will learn about the water cycle. "They're going to become water molecules," Environmental Education Specialist Jen Moore said. The group will build a watershed and "see what happens when it rains," she said. Students will spray rain on their construction and watch where the water goes. Someone will add pollution - colored water - to "see where it goes."
On Thursday, students will investigate Chapman Lake and Penny Run. They will check on the water quality, including finding the pH of the water in each, and look for creatures. What creatures they find will teach them about the quality of the water.
They will also talk about whether or not they should drink the water.