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The Deer Lake Canoe Clinic!

Wilber Longfellow promotes American Red Cross Water safetyThe Deer Lake Canoe Clinic began offering canoe training to Scouts and Scouters 1n 1987. Roger Smith started the program as “in-house” training for Troop 777 Venture Scouts offering the American Red Cross Fundamentals of Canoeing class. The program quickly grew into a District training opportunity for all area Troops. Word got out and the program really began to take off.

Girl Scouts are welcome too!An Advanced Fundamentals class and an Instructor Class were added in 1994 and the first Fundamentals of Kayaking class was added in 1996 as well as program changes to accommodate our LDS Scouts. American Red Cross Basic Water Rescue and Small Craft Safety Classes were added in 1998 along with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Boater Basics program. We now have Troops, Posts and Ships attending from all over our Council and neighboring Councils. The Deer Lake Canoe Clinic is available to all registered Boy Scouts, Venture Scouts, and leaders. Girl Scouts are welcome too. Since 1992, over 2,500 Scouts and Scouters have attended the Deer Lake Canoe Clinic.

The Deer Lake Canoe Clinic is a fun weekend designed to provide teenage boys and girls with water safety and boat handling skills instruction. The format is like a BSA summer camp program with a large and active youth staff. Our youth staffers are all ARC trained Instructor Aids. Adults will see the “Principles of Scouting” in action all weekend… The students just have fun!

Saturday night at The Deer Lake Canoe ClinicAdults are welcome too. The Deer Lake Canoe Clinic is authorized by the Sam Houston Area Council to conduct the Adult Flat-water Training Course and issue the SHAC “Yellow Card”. Adults also receive Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat cards. We recommend that adults plan to take the Fundamentals of Canoeing class the year before their Scouts are scheduled to take the class. Leaders can then take the “Review” Class or the Instructor Class while their Scouts complete Fundamentals. Following this plan better prepares Scout leaders to safely conduct flat-water outings and help the Scouts use their newly learned paddling skills.

The Deer Lake Canoe Clinic is held the weekend after the Sam Houston Area Council Scout Fair which is usually last weekend in April or the first weekend in May.... and the last weekend in September at Boy Scout Camp Strake. Registration for our April class begins the second Thursday in February at the George Strake District roundtable. Registration for the September class is the second Thursday in July or at the George Strake District Program Preview meeting. Classes fill up fast

SHAC Adult Flat-Water Canoe Training

SHAC Yellow Card and patchMost Scouters agree that adult supervision is the single most important requirement for any BSA aquatic activity… Qualified Adult Supervision is especially important for all afloat activities. The Sam Houston Area Council, in accordance with safety policies established by our National Organization, requires that all aquatic and afloat activities be conducted in strict accordance with the eight points of Safe Swim Defense and the nine points of Safety Afloat. The first point of each is Qualified Adult Supervision.

Adults planning afloat activities in our Council must have completed Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat training. The training must be current and all adults participating must “be committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat and the eight points of Safe Swim Defense”. The minimum acceptable level of training for adults leading flat-water canoe activities is the “SHAC Adult Flat Water Training Certificate”… usually called the “Yellow Card”. White-water activities require the “Moving Water Endorsement”.

The Northern Branch Office Scout Training Team offers American Red Cross “Fundamentals of Canoeing” and American Red Cross “Small Craft Safety”. Both classes meet or exceed all requirements for adult flat-water training. The Sam Houston Area Council “Canoe Committee” has approved our weekend program and we are authorized to issue the “Yellow Card” to adults successfully completing all course components.


FOC... Adult FUNdamentals of Canoeing

SHAC approved Adult Flat Water TrainingThis is our “entry level” class and the traditional way adults have earned the “yellow card”. We stress canoe safety and teach basic paddling skills. This class is designed for adults who have not paddled for a while as well as those who have never been in a canoe. We offer adult and youth tracks for Fundamentals of Canoeing. Scouts taking FOC will receive “essentially the same training” as the adults but age-appropriate teaching techniques are used.

We also offer the FOC “review”. It is more of a “skills workshop” and stresses solo paddling techniques. This class is designed for our teenagers preparing for “moving water” training and is the required youth training for our Instructor Aids. Adults with some canoe experience and reasonable paddling skills are welcome in this class too. Please understand that this is a youth class and the teaching methods will be age-appropriate for our experienced teenage paddlers.

Adults that begin the FOC class with limited paddling experience will learn, develop and practice basic boat handling skills. They will not become “expert” paddlers but should develop the confidence to safely enjoy flat-water Scouting activities. All of our adults will learn canoe safety, receive a good introduction to the sport of paddling, learn and demonstrate basic boat handling skills… and will have fun! Adults also attend a special “adults only” session Saturday evening to review SHAC policies and complete BSA SSD/SA required training. We also offer an optional Saturday evening session for adults wishing to become BSA SSD/SA instructors.


Small Craft Safety... Adults and Mature Teens

This is our newest aquatic program. The American Red Cross in cooperation with the GSUSA, the BSA and the American Camping Association developed small Craft Safety. It is ideal training for adults with “pretty good” paddling skills and some canoeing experience. This class provides participants with information and skills necessary to prevent, recognize and respond to small craft emergencies.

This is not a paddling skills class! You must be able to meet the “minimum exit skills” evaluation of the Fundamentals of Canoeing class to be eligible to participate in the Small Craft Safety course and receive the SHAC approved “Adult Flat-water Training Certificate”. We begin our class with the “minimum exit skills” test. Adults that cannot “comfortably” complete the evaluation course may choose to move to the FOC or FOC-Review class. Those who “are just a little rusty” may continue with the Small Craft Safety class and try the skills evaluation again Sunday morning. Our instructors will “help you decide”… Youth participants must pass the test too!...

kayak training too!Small Craft Safety includes “Basic Water Rescue” training. This component prepares participants to recognize the signs of a “swimming emergency” and to recognize and assist victims with potential head, neck or back injuries”. This is not designed to be lifeguard training but is an excellent review for our BSA and American Red Cross Lifeguards. Participants will learn how to assist trained lifeguards and others with advanced rescue training. The class stresses self-rescue and survival techniques as well as rescue techniques applicable to canoe and kayak emergencies.

The NBOSTT “Small Craft Safety” program at the Deer Lake Canoe Clinic includes: Small Craft Safety core requirements, Basic Water Rescue, Canoe Component, Kayak Component, “When Help is Delayed”, Rescue Breathing Review, BSA Safe Swim Defense/Safety Afloat and the SHAC “yellow card”. Small Craft Safety participants are encouraged to complete the optional BSA Safe Swim Defense/Safety Afloat Instructor class too. The program track for our teenage participants is a little different and usually includes the “Texas Safe Boating” course plus the Small Craft Safety “Rowing Component”.

Small Craft Safety is a fun class to take… and to teach! Adults who “think” they can meet the entrance requirements for Small Craft Safety should sign up for this class… If the evaluation “doesn’t go so well”… you can transfer to the adult FOC or FOC Review class.

The Deer Lake Canoe Clinic...
FUN Canoe and Kayak Training for Scouts and Scouters

You can download an application here...Registration Form


The Northern Branch Office Scout Training Team provides American Red Cross
Health and Safety training courses for Sam Houston Area Council Scouts & Scouters