The Florida Paddlesports Program trains volunteer guides so they can lead groups of kayakers in a safe and fun manner, especially families with children. Since 2014, more than 100 people have completed the course and several of these trained volunteers are leading trips for the public in Florida state parks and elsewhere. The program also provides basic instruction for state park employees so they can also lead paddling trips for the public.
The program has five main goals:
• Increase appreciation for nature by making outdoor recreation enjoyable
• Empower people by sharing basic paddling instruction
• Increase fitness
• Increase paddling safety
• Create conservation stewards of the future
The paddlesports training, generally offered in the spring and fall, involves 16 hours of intense instruction with expert American Canoe Association (ACA) instructors who coach attendees through the rigorous ACA Kayak Touring Trip Leader course. This course focuses on risk assessment and group management, an excellent fit for creating future generations of safe paddlers.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.