Leadership and Safety/Rescue courses address the issue of skill development and risk management for paddling in Alberta. Education within the AWA has been evolving since the first leadership/instructional/coaching program was established in 1978. Darryl and Dale O'Brien, Ray Sharp, Jim Archer and Chuck Lee developed this program for the AWA. Other similar programs were also being developed separately in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. This coaching program included competency-based instructional levels and curriculum skills courses taught by instructors at all levels of whitewater kayaking.
These provincial programs were followed by the adoption of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) in 1984. Chuck Lee brought the 4 provincial programs together under the NCCP banner and Gary Barton wrote the first instructor/coach manuals. The NCCP program is the gold standard for leadership certifications programs in Canada for all sports organizations. As such, it is broadly recognized by National and Provincial sport governing organizations, school boards, municipal recreation departments and other organizations involved in sport and recreation. By bringing kayak leadership, instruction and coaching under the NCCP umbrella, the sport is widely recognized across Canada.
The certification programs offered through the AWA are focused on developing safe and effective leaders, instructors and coaches. There are various levels available to instructors and leaders wishing to teach courses or lead other paddlers in various settings. The coaching program under development is for competitive coaches to work with athletes in the different competitive whitewater kayaking disciplines. Many of the leadership courses are offered as a combination Leadership and Instruction certification.
Active instructors are required to re-certify or upgrade their skills every three years.
The Kayak for Life video promotes getting our youth into kayaking before the age of 10. Check out Sean Allen's production on Vimeo here