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Welcome to the new members

From: Saul_K
Sent on: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 8:18 PM
A Happy 2010 and with a thanks for a fun 2009 to everyone as well as a welcome to the group for the new members along with a hello to those of you from my past that have joined recently, even after knowing me for years, didn't I get you into enough trouble before, what are you thinking, glad you joined us ;-)

Also a special thanks to Bob and George for holding the great cold water instruction session last weekend. A lot of people said it was the coldest they had ever been and the best class they'd ever had. And a thanks to the group members for showing up and doing the drills.

For the new members, you've probably noticed that we have a lot of events, generally several each week. I bring a lot of loaner equipment. We try and accommodate everyone so it's important to indicate if you need to borrow equipment in your RSVP and to update your RSVP if your plans change so that someone else gets a chance to join us. If you have your own gear say so, that way I can increase the head count, since I originally will set it based on how many kayaks I have available.

Some of you just want to get out and do training paddles, and you can post for partners on the Message Board, that's also a decent place to look for gear or ask for advice. We also have a few organizers who mainly post weeknight bring your own kayak training paddles.

On of my neighbors is renting a house on the slough and we may be able to work a deal with her where we kick her some money and leave a few kayaks out there that group members can use, so far it's just a thought, I would need to figure out the details, including paddler safety, managing access to the boats, etc.

If you want to influence where we plan our trips to go, fill out the members survey under Polls.

We generally have at least a few events a month even during the winter and as the weather warms up we move to multiple events each week. Some events are suitable for beginners, those are typically the Lake Washington and Lake Union Paddles, other events require varying levels of skills and the organizer will post what skills are required, these vary from being able to demonstrate some type of unassisted self rescue (can be a paddle float or a roll) to bracing or surfing skills and are a great reason to take the training classes.

Keep in mind that when one of the great local instructors offers a really inexpensive or even sometimes free class, that you need to follow through on your RSVP. We have burned out more than one volunteer instructor by having 12 people RSVP yes and no one show up, do that and you'll get booted.

Similar issue if you have me bring you a boat and you don't show up, the next trip you'll have to show up before the event and help me load kayaks.

Headcount on events, I try to keep the groups smallish, but since I hate to say no, I usually recruit people to assist with the events so we can manage them more easily and that way I can usually open them up to more people. For some events, I can't do much because the venue is too small or the instructor ratio will be poor.

Where do we paddle, pretty much everywhere there is water. We do a lot of Lake Washington and Lake Union Paddles, a lot of Deception Pass and San Juan trips, some coastal paddles as well as some paddles further away that require an airplane flight or a multi day drive to get to. We even have a Black Canyon paddle in Arizona next month.

Safety, we put a lot of effort in keeping the events safe, we aren't guides, but we do a fair amount of front end planning with updates based on changing conditions, and that often results in small changes to the trip plan. While it's a headache, we usually update the event description to let you know about the changes in advance.

Related to Safety, everyone in the group makes a pretty good effort at helping their team mates at these events and I appreciate that.

So once again, welcome to the group, we have a great year ahead of us.

Thanks - Saul

Saul Kinderis
[address removed] cell[masked]

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