LOGAN, W.Va. — The Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority (LEASA) hosted their first ever 2016 Guyandotte River Paddling Camp. More than 30 kids attending the free camp were taught how to maneuver kayaks safely along the Guyandotte River.
“Kayaking has taken off in the area,” Bill Weese, LEASA Training Director, said. “With us teaching the kids safer methods of how to paddle, we reduce the number of people we have to deal with on the rescue side of our business.”
The camp was put on by an all-volunteer staff that included trained, local first responders.
“We had some funding given to us by the Logan County Commission, Logan County 911 helped and AirEvac,” Weese said. “The kayaks were donated by our local outfitters, Sunny Daze Boat Rentals out of Man and Jack Baisden of Four Seasons and Logan County No. 2 Fire Department at Man. We’ve fed the kids and done everything with donation money.”
Weese said children in the 3-day paddling camp were taught the proper paddling techniques, how to read the river, and what to do if they get lost.
“We incorporated a program we use through our search and rescue program, hug a tree,” Weese said. “We’ve talked to them a lot about pollution and keeping the river clean. Speakers came in from KLM Worms. They talked to them about fishing on the river. We’ve had three days that has been pretty packed.”
Children completing the camp were given certificates during a short ceremony held Wednesday afternoon.
Weese said no more paddling camps are planned for this year.
“It’s late in the summer and school is getting ready to start. Hopefully next year,” Weese said. “The kids really loved this camp. Next year we are talking about expanding it to an adventure camp, which will include kayaking, but will include different stuff we do too.”
Martha Sparks is a reporter and can be reached at 304-752-6950, ext. 1728, or via Twitter at @MarthaSparks.