Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:
I can’t swim and I’m afraid of water, so I never would have imagined in a million years that I would ever go kayaking. But right before school began, I got a chance to try it with my fellow Eco Youth Reporters. And it was one of the most rejuvenating experiences in my life.
Our tour guide was Noah Stein with the company Chicago River Canoe and Kayak. He was wonderful and completely understanding but he was really serious about safety and the risks of being on the water. I was sort of reluctant to get in a kayak by myself, so Noah decided it was in my best interest to partner up with Alisha Jacobs, which was a great idea.
Noah went over all the important logistics about kayaking. We had to first pick out single or double kayaks. After we had done that, Noah helped each of us change the gears in the boat for our own comfort. For the ones who were in double boats, we had to decide if we wanted to be a front paddler or a back paddler and gear changer. At first, I thought I wanted to be in the back paddling and changing gears. Then Noah explained that experienced kayakers usually sat in the back because it would be difficult for a beginner to focus on paddling and changing gears. So I was switched to the front.
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