Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Group Paddling Creed

Now that the scheduled sea kayaking season has started off, it is time to start thinking about paddling in larger and more free forming groups. Big groups, groups that are not assembled from a close knit group of friends, groups that essentially show up on a shore for a paddle can be unruly and occasionally frustrating. I know I personally can struggle with group dynamics when groups get large.
A post by Wayne Horodowich called Group Paddling Creed has always helped me keep perspective.
After listing a number of common frustrations, he starts the creed off:

When I choose to paddle in a group I realize I have a certain responsibility to the group. I understand the group members can be on the paddle for different reasons. Some of my personal desires and freedoms may take second place to the needs of the group.

The creed is a list of respectful behaviors that members of a group can follow.
When I think about dashing off to play in some particularly fun water, I think about the creed. When considering sleeping for that extra twenty minutes the morning of the paddle, I think about the creed. When I get particularly frustrated when on a paddle, I think of the creed.
It is the little things that can make paddling in a large, diverse group be a fun experience.

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