I would like to thank all those who helped organise and run the symposium. As usual there was a lot going on and the organisers were kept on their toes. Thanks guys. As a past chair ,meets organiser and symposium organiser I fully appreciate the work that is done. Much of this is behind the scenes and is not sen by many who take part. None of these jobs are as simple and straight forward as appears on the surface.
Regarding Johns comments I have to disagree on a number of them.
During my time as chair twice I met with the ICU/CANOE IRELAND and attempted to engage with them and get them to involve themselves in seakayaking. They did not have anyone designated to liase or organise sea kayaking events. I was told that I would be contacted to discuss this further but I am still waiting for the call many years on. The impression one gets that they are only interested in competition.
Yes there are many outdoor pursuit colleges , training establishments and service providers and ISKA has worked with some of these. ISKA actively encourages its members to take up training courses and to get assessed/qualified. It offers generous subsidies to its members to do so. At one forum where the service providers were present as well as Canoe Ireland I suggested that they all get together and draw up between themselves a calendar of courses and assessments so they would not be duplicating training. I asked that they give a copy of this calendar to ISKA so we could promote it and our members wouldbe able plan for it. Only one Service Provioder came back to me on it. ISKA does take training and assessment serious but its members need to know well in advance so they can plan for training. The ISKA I know, is very much supportive of change and development
Regarding youth involvement in sea kayaking; this is difficult. I have worked lived and been a member of many clubs throughout Ireland and the UK. All have the same difficulty in making seakayaking appeal to younger people. I have heard it discussed and attempts made to make seakayaking "sexy" to young folk but it appears that no one has managed it yet. Generally younger people want fast furious and cool and finishing around lunchtime so they can get on with the rest of their busy lives. I think it is great that they have the energy to be part of lots of things and I would love to see them get involved in sea kayaking. Has anyone got any suggestions. ( I know seakayaking is often fast furious furious and always sexy but not everybody is convinced) Perhaps Canoe Ireland should be dealing with this.
I have to quite a few symposiums over the years both in Ireland and abroad. Most have been very positive experiences but one or two have been total disasters. One in particular was so bad that people were in all types of accomadation scattered over various campsites with no central venues. No communication and basically a shambles from start to finish. Others were magnificent. There are a number of them in the U.K but the prices are not low and they rarely include accomadation. The U.K has got a much larger "customer base" and more venues that will cater for outdoor activities. ISKA subsidises all its symposiums. Using trainee instructors as helprs at sympoiums is a good Idea and they could get a subsidy/grant. A lot of issues need to be considered; should they be ISKA members, what level are they at with regards to leading groups. I think generally it would benefit ISKA but give these guys a chance to get experience leading groups of competent paddlers. Another thought why not subsidy for the unwaged? I am not going to ask for a subsidy for pensioners.
These are my own personal views and in no way represent the views of the committee or other members of ISKA.
We should all take time now and again to look at the original purpose and aims of ISKA. This was set at a time before clubs etc. ISKA will be what its members want. IT is always changing and I hope that it remains true to those original aims, will always be welcoming to old and new members and find room for everyone who wants to paddle on the sea.
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