This summer, Ausome athlete Mischa enthusiastically picked up his paddle to join us again for our Canoe/Kayak program at the Ottawa River Canoe Club. He was pumped to get back on the water and build on the paddling skills and confidence he gained last summer.
With his mom, Lynn, in the boat with him, every passing week Mischa progressed in learning different paddling techniques while having a blast in such a beautiful setting alongside his Ausome teammates.
By halfway through the program, paddling Coach Andrea felt confident Mischa was succeeding so well paddling in tandem with his mom that he was ready for a new challenge: paddling solo in his own kayak!
While respecting his need for structure and routine, Coach Andrea came up with a plan that would gently push Mischa (and Lynn!) out of his comfort zone, and allow him to build his “courage muscles” safely.
“I had asked mom if she thought it would be okay to let Mischa paddle solo in his own kayak if he was also tethered to mine for safety,” Coach Andrea recounted. While Lynn was apprehensive at first, she shared, “I trust Andrea. I know she wouldn’t have offered Mischa the opportunity to try kayaking on his own if she didn’t think he was capable of success.”
Mischa made the final decision on his own. He too was reluctant at first. But after hearing he would be tied to Coach Andrea’s kayak the whole time, he overcame his fear and replied with an excited “YES!”
Out on the water that day, Mischa was a solo paddling superstar! “I didn’t really tow him at all. Just having that safety net of a tether was enough,” Coach Andrea recalled. In fact, he was so brave and doing so well that Coach Andrea asked mom if she thought it would be okay to let Mischa go on his own, not tethered to her, for the last 50m back to the dock. “When the time came, I gave Lynn the eye, she nodded okay, and Mischa paddled on his own into the shore!”
Both Mischa and Mom were brave that day! It’s always less scary to try something new when you have the right support system.
Afterwards, Lynn told us, “Mischa was so very proud of himself for kayaking on his own and was so happy to tell his dad when we got home. I was very proud of him too and so very grateful to Andrea for giving him this opportunity.”
Thank you for showing us all the meaning of courage, Mischa!