Last year, I had the privilege of being invited to shadow the kayaking courses at the Women on Water Paddling Festival.  It was great fun and I learned so much. When I was asked to come back again this year, to teach basic kayaking, I agreed wholeheartedly and couldn’t wait for the event to arrive.

It had been a rough year for me so far. I hit my head on January 3rd and received a concussion and by June I was happy to report I was finally feeling myself again.  Thankfully, as I had a bunch of events planned and didn’t want to miss any of them.  Wow, being one of them.  I arrived at 4pm on Friday June 8th and was quickly greeted by familiar faces.   I dropped my stuff off at my cabin and headed to the waterfront to help with the set up, making sure all the kayaks had a skirt, pump  and paddle and doing whatever else was needed.

After we got as much set up as possible, I headed into the dining hall where registration was taking place and said hello to the bright cheery faces of the Wild Women Expeditions crew. I took some time to do an interview with Kate, who organizes the event along with WWE and Dympna from Ontario Sea Kayak Centre.

Kate informed me that once again, WOW was sold out this year and the event was now in it’s 5th year!  That anniversary is wood by the way, which made me laugh when I found out as this is an event only for women, created and run by women with women participants, a dream that Dympna had and has now come to fruition.

Everyone was on their own for dinner and afterwards were asked to meet in the dining hall at 8pm for welcome speeches, some information about what would happen when, and new this year, a presentation by me on Solo Camping and the processes I went through to become one.  After a lovely introduction by Dympna I gave the presentation I did for this years Outdoor Adventure Show which can be seen on my youtube here as I wasn’t able to film myself at Wow.  The presentation seeemed to go over really well and I received a decent amount of laughter and applause throughout.  Thank you ladies, I hope you enjoyed it!

After saying hello to some old friends from last years event and meeting some new ones, my friend Sue who was new to Wow this year, and I headed to the campfire singalong with Jennifer Holub.

Jennifer, once again, did an amazing job entertaining everyone and getting them to join in and sing along to her fun campfire songs.

We enjoyed the beautiful warm evening and watched the sun go down as everyone relaxed, laughed, got to know each other a little bit and share their passion for the activities that would follow the next day.

I took a bit of time to catch up with the lovely Jennifer Holub after the sing along and then after a few drinks, everyone headed to bed in anticipation of the full day that was planned for Saturday!

Breakfast was served from 7:45 to 8:45 and the staff at Camp Tapawingo treated us well as in the past.  We had crisp bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, toast, jams and a bunch of different types of food to please everyone.  I didn’t eat too much as I would be on the water all day teaching and didn’t want to have any issues as my colitis hadn’t been kind to me lately.

We had a quick kayak instructors meeting at the instructors cabin after Dympna and Kate did a welcome speech for everyone in the dining hall and then we headed out to run our sessions.

In addition to the session I was helping with, basic kayaking, there was also canoe courses, sup courses, navigation, greenland paddling, kayak play and balance, and sup yoga. Lots of courses for everyone to choose from.  I have added a few photos above that are courtesy of Wild Women Expeditions as I wasn’t able to take photos of the other sessions since I was in one of my own.

For the day on Saturday, I would be teaching with Kris Shaw who is an amazing instructor. Kris has been teaching for years and knows the basic kayaking course like the back of her hand.  I did a bit of the teaching but spent most of the day assisting participants one on one, as this is my favorite part of teaching, and what I feel I am strongest at.

Everyone in our session was awesome and we had a great time. The weather was beautiful and we went over different strokes, the parts of the kayak, getting in and out successfully and a bunch of other cool things.  We had a delicious lunch halfway through the day and then got back on the water to do wet exits.  As I was assisting with wet exits and all the other things during the day, I wasn’t able to take too many photos, but i tried to get a few that included everyone in the session.

With everyone tired and wet and ready to relax, we headed back to shore.  I was somehow pulled in to the mermaid camp and told to put on a fin and act like a fish, which wasn’t difficult for me as I am a Pisces and consider myself a water baby. Jennifer Holub strikes again with the help of Instructor Mulder. LOL

We had lots of fun taking pictures, getting our pictures taken and swimming around.  Once I was done, I headed to my cabin to put on some clothes for dinner, which was again, incredibly delicious.

After dinner Dympna made some more announcements about the evenings entertainment.  She also asked to see who had come the furthers for this years event.  It was a pretty close contest between 3 women, 1 had driven 1550 km’s each way, one lady was from Texas and another flew in from Edmonton.  Pretty amazing to have so many wonderful women from such long distances away. It made me extremely proud to be part of this event.  Dympna generously offered all the ladies a nights stay at Harmony Inn.

After dinner, I headed outside. A girl named Rhonda had brought her Oru Kayak which folded up into a suitcase sized box and was showing everyone how to put it together and take it apart.  I have this in my video which will be published on youtube , part 1 of Wow if you would like to check it out. It’s quite incredible.

Marketplace photos courtesy of Wild Women Expeditions

After the Oru Kayak demonstration, Sue and I headed up to the marketplace to check out the silent auction and bid on some items. There were a lot of great items and I was grateful that Keen had donated a pair of footwear, Backcountry Custom Canoes donated a Lem Saw and Algonquin Outfitters had donated a $100 gift card. I also donated a womens Camper Christina shirt for auction.  The proceeds go towards the Georgian Bay Biosphere, which is a wonderful organization who takes good care of an area I love deeply.

After that it was time for me to get into my costume for the lip sync battle.  Last year I had done a group lip sync with the kayak instructors,  but this year I had decided to do one on my own.  The performers get right into it and do their best to dress the part of the song they have chosen so I put on my short onesie, puffed up my hair, added lots of bling and make up for my performance as Beyonce.  We all gathered in the upstairs building and got ready to do our thing!

Lori Lang did an incredible lip sync to Uptown Funk and it looked as if she were singing every word, grunt and groan herself. It was really impressive.

Mother and daughter team, Pat and Emma kicked butt doing a great dance to Shania Twains, I feel like a woman in their super sparkly dresses.

The kayak instructors did a great rendition of Dancing Queen by Abba totally outfitted in 70’s clothing, hats and jewelry.

The SUP instructors did an amazing dance routine to Meghan Trainor’s new song, No Excuses, dressed in tutu’s and cute little dance outfits.

And I strutted my stuff to Beyonce’s Independent Women, a song I thought totally fitting for the event.

Above: Dympna finally got the hoola hooping just right.  Ariel with her incredible muscles taming the hoola hoop.

Below:  Jennifer Holub showing the hoola hoop who’s boss, Holly looking like a supermodel dancing while hoolaing. (is that a word?)

After the lip sync battle, there was a hoola hoop contest and lots and lots of dancing with and without the hoola hoops as part of the routines.  It was a super fun time and I enjoyed it immensely.

I headed down to the shore to catch the sun saying goodbye and changed out of my attire and into my regular camper christina clothing.  Sue and I shared some beverages by the fire and chatted with some lovely ladies and eventually we headed to bed, exhausted from the day, but anxious to see what Sunday had in store for us.

I hope you enjoyed the post and check out the video.  Please check back next week for Part 2 of 2.

If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, please leave a message.  Thanks for checking out my post!

Camper Christina