|DOWNLOAD KEENER APPLICATION HERE|
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT'S NEW $500 CHILDREN'S FITNESS TAX CREDIT IF YOUR CHILD IS UNDER 16 AT THE START OF 2013.
Click here for the Canadian Revenue Agency Website on the Child Fitness Tax Credit
Track the day to day activities of our keener program at
Almost 10 years ago Anita, an Australian teen kayaker, enrolled in the Keener Program for her 3 week school break. We asker her "Anita, surely there must be kayak schools in Australia so you wouldn't have to go around the world for a kayak program". She replied there are excellent instructional programs but she wanted to be surrounded by teens her own age passionate about paddling. We have had Keeners from Costa Rica, Britain, Australia, Mexico and the US. Just recently we took our first booking from Spain. The reason is simple. The Keener Program has no equal in the entire world.
7 Keeners competed in the 2005 World Championships. Keeners dominated last years North American Championships taking 5 of the 6 top spots. It keeps getting better. 15 Keeners (keeners, graduates or keener instructors) competed in the 2007 World Freestyle Kayak Championships held on the Ottawa River April 29, 2007 - May 5, 2007 with 6 ascending the podium. In Switzerland in 2009, 24 Keeners competed and 7 ascended the podium. In Senior Men's, Keener Graduates and now instructors, Nick Troutman and Joel Kowalski placed first and fifth respectively.
WHAT IS THE KEENER PROGRAM?
The Keener Program is Wilderness Tours' top "youth development through kayaking" program focusing (in order of priority) on:
- Graduating fine young men and women
- Producing world class junior paddlers with the ability to compete and win internationally (the 2009 World Championships held at the Thun Switzerland saw 21 Keeners compete with 7 making the podium); Past keeners took 4 out of the 5 top spots in the Men's K1 Division
- Providing Keeners with the skills (first aid, CPR, Swiftwater Rescue) to paddle safely
- Prepare Keeners for future work in the whitewater industry as river guides, kayak instructors, video boaters etc.
- Providing senior Keeners with an opportunity to earn compensation working part time within Wilderness Tours as they train
Wilderness Tours' keener program was founded in the late 1980's by paddling legend Jerry Marquis. Jerry was a high school teacher in Tupper Lake, New York (near Lake Placid). Jerry managed Wilderness Tours' nearby Hudson River operation and spent his summers with Wilderness Tour' as River Manager. Jerry loved kayaking and he would hand pick his best students to come to the Ottawa as "Jerry's Kids" or "keeners" (for keen and enthusiastic). Originally, Keeners were Jerry's students but the program expanded to include other applicants. Some of the best paddlers and skiers in the world were keeners - World kayak champion Ken Whiting, Wilderness Tours' Kayak School Director James Roddick, extreme skiers extraordinaire Scott and Robb Gaffney and more. It was a great program but ended with Jerry's death in 1994.
Because the legend of the Keeners still lived on, several years ago, parents of children in our Teen Resident Camp asked if we would bring back the program. In response to their request, we resurrected the program a few years ago. The program was a tremendous success in regard to youth development through kayaking. It is also a success on the river with Keeners dominating junior kayaking. In 2004, the top Canadian, American and Mexican junior kayakers were keeners. In 2009 21 Keeners competed in the World Championships in Thun, Switzerland and 7 made thier way to the podium. The goal of the program is to turn out fine young men and women. That they just happen to dominate junior paddling is just a bonus
WHO CAN AND SHOULD BECOME KEENERS
Keeners are young people between the age of 12 and 17 who are "keen" about kayaking and have a positive attitude about life. Younger paddlers (age 12 and 13) are welcome provided they are mature and physically able to kayak. A strong whitewater kayak roll is required. Parents who are not sure their teens are "keen" on kayaking can put their child into Wilderness Tours' Teen Resident Camp which is a week long kayak program starting Sunday evening and ending late Friday afternoon. Parents can then decide at that time whether to enroll their son or daughter into the Keener Program.
Keener Program focuses on the following:
- Personal Demeanor, Attitude, Work Ethic, Conduct, Youth and Character Development
- Public speaking - ice breaker speeches on Sunday night and formal speeches every Monday
- Written communication - keeners must post at least weekly to web log www.okskeener.blogspot.com/
- Skill Development
- Competitive Training - Keeners compete weekly
- Cross training
- Kayak Swiftwater Rescue Training
- First Aid, CPR Certification
- All aspects of becoming a PRO Boater
- Movie making - Keeners have access to movie making equipment and cameras
- Travel to other rivers (at extra cost)
WHEN AND WHERE
Keeners will be accommodated at "Keener Heaven" at the base of McCoy Chute and in cabins at Wilderness Tour's when appropriate. The program operates June through Labor Day Weekend. We prefer Keeners arrive and depart on Sundays but we can be flexible.
The program includes instruction, coaching, competition training, supervision, meals, cabin, bedding, local transportation and traveling to other rivers (shared expense). Keeners are also required to purchase the clothing/gear package.
A minimum of three weeks stay is required for the keener program.
TRAVEL TO OTHER RIVERS
Training involves traveling to other rivers. Keeners must have a credit card on file to cover the cost of the trip. Trip cost is approx $50 - $100/trip depending on distance and time away. Trip schedule is tentative based on water levels on other rivers.
Keeners are under the daily supervision of the Keener Coach Stephen Wright and his assistants. Guest instructors are a big part of the training and include, Ruth Gordon, Eric Jackson, David Nieuwenhuis, Clay Wright, Moe Kelleher, Brad Sutton, Devon Barker etc. Rounding out the Keener instructional team is our Keener gradutes and now instructors are Nick Troutman, Joel Kowalski and Rafa Ortiz.
Keeners are encouraged to compete. Keeners are responsible for their own entry fees or have a credit card on file with Wilderness Tours (for Wilderness Tours to enter the Keener in the competition). Keeners run their own competition (with supervision) each week on the Ottawa. What if your long term kayaking plans don't involve competing. No problem! The weekly competitions are friendly and serve the dual purpose of providing valued practice for those Keeners who plan to compete and valued training for those Keeners who don't.
Keeners are supervised 24/7. Smoking, drinking, drug use, profanity, disrespect and "conduct unbecoming" are grounds for immediate dismissal without refund. Off river sup
ervision is provided by our Keener Coordinator, Jackie Powers.
Keeners are well fed with a vegetarian alternative at every meal. Keeners share household chores including dishes, housecleaning, bathroooms, grass cutting etc.
SAFETY AND LIABILITY
Safety is our #1 concern. Keeners are always supervised on the river during instruction and are not allowed to paddle on their own without written parental permission in the Keener application. A signed release is required of all participants.
A TYPICAL KEENER WEEK
Sunday - arrival day - free paddling (with parental permission);
Monday - Friday - formal kayak training
Formal kayak training takes place Monday through Friday with about 6 hours on the river. Each evening there is an activity session. Sometimes it's kayaking related, sometimes just going to the movies. Depending on water levels and features, training can be at 6 am or after dark with glow sticks on helmets. Keeners have high speed internet access as well as movie making equipment for video analysis.
Another weekly highlight is the Friday afternoon "Keener Competition" where the Keeners organize, judge, scribe, time and compete.
Saturday - departure day - free paddling/chores
We operate a 2 day First Aid/CPR Red Cross Certification Program as part of every 3 Week Session. The certification is valid for 3 years and is required for all river guides and kayak instructors.
With a stated goal of dominating international junior kayaking, Keeners participate each week in the weekly Ottawa Kayak Pro/Am competition. This competition is operated by the Keeners. Not only do Keeners compete but they judge, scribe and time the event (under OKS supervision).
A goal of the keener program is to graduate kayak professionals ready for work in the paddle sports industry as river guides, kayak instructors and video/photo boaters. Keeners progress to Senior Keeners and Keener Instructors. Senior Keeners are compensated if appropriate and Keener Instructors are compensated less room and board.
Keeners live in several cabins at the base of McCoy Chute, the best location on the Ottawa River. The cabins have bunk beds, mattresses, pillows and sheets. Keeners bring a sleeping bag. Keeners have high speed internet access, telephone, TV - DVD/VHS, monitor and computer. Keeners have a camcorder and digital camera.
With written parental permission and head coach permission, Keeners can "paddle on their own" under certain conditions:
NO ONE BOATS ALONE
No one leaves the Keener area without signing out and in
Keeners "paddling on their own" follow a safety protocol
While little is required, parents can provide money to their children by emailing Joe with the amount. Wilderness Tours' accounting department will advance the money and the amount will be debited to the parents on file credit card.
- Keeners can add sessions on site if space is available
- Parents who are unsure about their child's enthusiasm for kayaking can enroll their child in the Teen Resident Camp. If the child is "Keen", he or she can then be booked into the Keener Program (if space is available)
- Space for the Keener Program is limited and is on a first come, first served basis with reservations required
- Cabins include mattress, sheets and pillow (bring a sleeping bag)
- Parents are welcome to visit and may rent a cabin or campsite at Wilderness Tours.
Contact Keener parent Joe Kowalski (email@example.com) for information.
DOWNLOAD KEENER APPLICATION HERE
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|KEENERS ON THE PODIUM AND ON TOP OF THE WORLD! In 7 short years original Keener Nick Troutman achieves the World Championship Title in Men's K-1. Seen here with his life long friend and fellow keener, Joel Kowalski. Way to go Keeners!|
KEENER PROGRAM GALLERY
|Optional COMPETITION TRAINING WEEK Aug 25-Sept 1.||$699|
|Level 2 Swiftwater Rescue Course part of every 3 week program (river guide requirement)||$199|
|First Aid/CPR Certification is part of every 3 week program (meets river guide requirement)||$195|
|Required clothing package - 2 Keener T-Shirts and 1 hooded sweatshirt||$69|
|Travel to other rivers (cost is tallied and divided by Keeners travelling) Average cost||$150|
|3 Week Program starting - Sun June 23 - Sat July 13, 2013; rate is per week||$879|
|3 Week Program starting - Sun July 14 - Sat Aug 3, 2013; rate is per week||$859|
|3 Week Program starting - Aug 4 - Sat Aug 24, 2013; rate is per week||$799|
|PROGRAM: This is a life changing program for teens who are passionate about kayaking and parents are passionate about youth development. We like to say it\'s where Old School Values meets New School Kayaking. A STRONG WHITEWATER ROLL IS REQUIRED.|
|OVERNIGHTS: All (many Keeners stay several sessions)|
|AVAILABLE: Session 1 (3 weeks) June 23-July 13, 2013 SOLD OUT|
Session 2 (3 weeks) July 14-Aug. 3, 2013
Session 3 (3 weeks) Aug 4-Aug 24, 2013
Aug. 25-Sept 1 (Competition Training Week) Optional add on with session 1, 2 or 3
|EQUIPMENT: Kayak and gear is available as rental option|
|WHAT TO BRING: STRONG WHITEWATER ROLL|
What to Bring list provided
|FINE PRINT: Note that rates are subject to a $6/person/day service charge and 13% GST. Programs and rates are subject to change without notice.|
All rates are in Canadian dollars. Rates in US dollars are approximately the same and will be converted on your credit card bill. A signed waiver/release is required by all participants on site or online by clicking here.
|Ottawa Airport Pick Up (2 hour drive)|
By reservation only
|One way fare||$99|
|Kayak and gear|
Kayak, paddle, spray skirt
|Kayak, paddle, spray skirt, (we turn over our fleet every year so you are always paddling the latest and greatest) for weekly rental||$99|
|Daily rental package of Kayak, spray skirt, paddle for 2 and 3 day clinics||$22|
Must be purchased at the time of booking! Redeemable only in the event of illness, accident or bereavement with written 3rd party documentation. Rate is $9/day (tax in).
|Cancellation Insurance (per day)||$9|
|Cancellation Insurance /week||$35|
Keeners generally arrive on Sunday at 4 pm and depart on Saturday at 10 am. Because many Keeners come from all over the world, adhering to that schedule is not always possible. Keeners arriving early or staying late book a Keener Overnight.