For youth ages 12-16 the ORR offers Level 1 instruction in a 'course' format. Level 1 Courses provide an introduction to the sport of whitewater kayaking. The summer format is one week of half day sessions, either mornings or afternoons. All equipment for kayak courses is provided by the ORR. Participants should bring swimsuits, a synthetic shirt, and water shoes.
The primary location for all camps and courses is The Pumphouse, our paddling site in the heart of downtown Ottawa, at Lebreton Flats. It is a site that relies on pumped water, and so we use a second alternate site when there are scheduling conflicts with the pumping station maintenance shut-offs. These are scheduled in advance, and we maintain contact with the City of Ottawa to plan our programs around this. The alternate site is the Bate Island beach & rapids, accessed from Champlain Bridge (via Island Park Dr). We may hold up to 1-4 days of our Level 1 & 2 courses at this alternate site. Advance notice will be given if this is necessary, and all parents would be required to drop off and pick up the participants from the alternate site on the designated days.
The minimum age for participation in youth kayak courses is 12.
-Participants must have basic swimming skills.
We do not require a specific Aquaquest Level, what is important is that the child is comfortable in the water environment, and can swim well enough to guide themselves in moving water. All participants will be wearing PFD's while on the water.
-Every child will be taught to do a 'wet exit' from a kayak, this is an essential safety skill. Participants must learn this skill before they can try paddling on the class 2 whitewater course. A wet exit is when a paddler wearing a spray skirt flips their kayak upside down in the river, pulls the release handle, and ejects from the kayak. Click here to see a demonstration video from Youtube.
-Participants should be prepared to try whitewater kayaking.
The purpose of our program is to teach whitewater kayaking skills, and to give kids the opportunity to try out paddling in rapids. Those with an adventurous spirit, who are ready to try new things are best suited to this type of program. We ask that you please consider the suitability of this camp for each child, they do not need to be fearless, but they should be prepared to come with an open mind. If you are not sure if your child would enjoy this activity, please refer to the attached 'Frequently Asked Questions' download.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spring Level 1 Youth Kayak Course (ages 12-16)
June 18 4-6 pm, June 20 4-6 pm, June 22 9 am - 3 pm
The Spring Level 1 Course is a speedy introduction for participants aged 12-16, who want to gain the basic skills in order to take a Level 2 Camp with friends or to join an ongoing club program. Participants registering for this course should be strong swimmers and ready to paddle!
Summer Level 1 Youth Kayak Courses (ages 12-16)
Hours: Half Days, 9 am - 1 pm Monday to Friday
Weeks: July 2-5 (short week Tues-Fri), July 15-19, August 6-9 (short week Tues-Fri), August 19-23
Cost: $210 ($165 for short week)
Youth Kayak Courses teach the basics of whitewater kayaking over the course of 1 week of morning sessions. Participants start with strokes and skills, acquire a wet exit, and learn the theory of moving water. By the Thursday/Friday they are learning how to safely swim in moving water, and are moving up to trying the class 2 rapids of the Pumphouse.
The form used for registration lists our summer camps (for ages 11-13) and our Level 1 Youth Kayak Courses. Please ensure that you select the correct program.
To check availability: START THE REGISTRATION PROCESS, GO TO THE 2ND PAGE, SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE AVAILABILITY, THEN EXIT OUT OF THE REGISTRATION PROCESS, BY CLOSING THE BROWSER, IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO CONTINUE. NO PERSONAL INFORMATION WILL BE RETAINED, NOR WILL YOU BE CHARGED.
Participants who have completed a Level 1 Camp or Course have the opportunity to continue by taking a Level 2 Course. These programs are for ages 11-16 and focus on spending more time on honing paddling skills and improving whitewater paddling. The summer format is one week of half day sessions, either mornings or afternoons.
Spring Level 2 Youth Kayak Course (ages 14-16)
June 26-28, 9 am to 3 pm
Cost: $190, Prerequisite: Level 1 Camp/Course
This is a youth level 2 program for high school students (because their school schedule gets out slightly earlier). They will be spending 3 days on whitewater improving their skills, working on rolling, and prepping for river runs! This is the perfect start to a summer of paddling, and allows participants to transition into joining the development program.
Summer Level 2 Youth Kayak Courses (ages 11-16)
July 22-26, mornings
July 22-26, afternoons
August 26-30, mornings
Cost: $200, Prerequisite: Level 1 Camp/Course
This is a level 2 course that focuses on improving the basic skills learned in Level 1. Each course is one week of half days in the morning (9 am - 12 pm) or afternoon (1 pm - 4 pm) and includes working on whitewater skills, rolling, and having fun at the Pumphouse.
The Level 2 registration link is available by e-mail request only! Contact Us
Participants MUST have taken a whitewater kayaking program before.
For those children or youth with prior whitewater kayaking experience, or who have previously taken a Level 1 or 2 camp or course with us, there will be ongoing advanced programs for developing whitewater skills, called the Youth Development Paddling Program.
For ongoing programs for youth and adults, please explore the other sections of our "Courses & Programs" menu.
Location: National Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Slalom Tailrace/Pumphouse Training Site, 10 Fleet Street, LeBreton Flats.
The Ottawa River Runners employs qualified and certified whitewater kayak instructors to teach our summer camps and courses. Full time staff are certified by CanoeKayak Canada as whitewater leaders and instructors on moving water up to class 2, and also hold first aid qualifications. Part time assistance is often provided by club athletes, who are experienced whitewater paddlers.