1000km south of Darwin and 500km north of Alice Spring sits Warumungu Country, Desert Country – Tennant Creek. A land of history, red dirt, vast plains, beauty and yes the region has a few waterways to explore by canoe and kayak…croc free.
After contact from Pam Dillon – the Sport Education Coordinator for the Barkly Region – and with funding to support development of participation in remote areas, Allana Bold was given the opportunity to deliver Paddle Australia qualification courses in the area with the support of PA.
“I feel lucky to have been given this opportunity, to create an amazing outcome for the Northern Territory,” Bold said.
“With only one qualified Paddle Australia instructor in the Northern Territory, it was becoming imperative that training became available, to ensure grassroots opportunities aren’t lost for the local kids.
“Upskilling the locals was imperative to ensure that the next generation can have access to quality paddle education, participation, and experiences,” she said.
Bold set out with the outcome to produce more qualified instructors, guides and supervisors in canoe and kayak.
“A variety of leaders were involved including teachers, principals, Girl Guide leaders, public and even the Mayor,” Bold said.
“They all have the same desired result – to get people of all ages and abilities paddling, into the outdoors, learning about the outdoors and having fun.
“That is how our program was run, lots of laughter, friendships forged, lessons shared, knowledge gained,” she said.
Training and assessments took place on Tingkkarli – Lake Mary Ann, a short 5-minute drive north of Tennant Creek, over three days in early August. With 30-degree days and breezes it was a perfect environment to teach the teachers and leaders all the strokes of canoeing and kayaking, navigation, minimising environmental impact practices, knots, safety and rescues, towing, communication, risk assessments, interpreting weather, briefings, group management and running successful activities.
“Our program invited members of the public down for our newly trained leaders to start gaining experience and to receive feedback,” Bold said.
“With our awesome spectacle of brightly coloured canoes and kayaks at Tingkkarli , people were drawn to us and I was able to chat to people passing through – many of whom paddle in their hometowns and several had their inflatable kayaks in their travelling vans.
“Some were from Paddle Australia paddle clubs which was great to see, and many were surprised at the paddle opportunities they have come across on their travels of NT,” she said.
As a result of Bold’s upskilling sessions, each participant received nationally recognised Paddle Australia qualifications that will enable teachers and leaders of remote towns and communities to be delivering safe and enjoyable paddle education and activities. Creating another opportunity for equitable, inclusive paddle opportunities to benefit the region, the communities, and the kids for years to come.
“There has even been interest and desire to start a canoe club in Tennant Creek,” Bold said.
“This can provide another opportunity for the community to be active and healthy and use their local waterways.
“It was such a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Thank you again to Paddle Australia for supporting this outcome,” she said.