YSU Penguins Take Advantage of Rec Kayaking Program

By Samantha Smith

Youngstown State University’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center is holding American Canoe Association Pool Kayak Clinics this semester. The sessions are in the rec center’s pool and equipment is available for participants. 

Last year, R.J. Markowitz, coordinator of Adventure Recreation, received a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to purchase equipment and conduct programs.

The rec center’s plans to hold kayak programs throughout the summer and fall of 2020 were set back.

“What we decided to do is put together a series of smaller clinics throughout the spring semester that took place in the pool,” Markowitz said. “The main thing that I want to stress to people with this is you don’t have to attend all of them, you can attend just one, you can attend two — however many you want. We’ll kind of get you up to speed with where you need to be.”

The courses will teach participants the basics of kayaking, including using the correct muscles and using the correct paddling stroke. The courses also teach participants about water rescues in case of emergency, so participants can stay safe. 

Riley Campbell, a junior nursing major, explained what she thought of the first session of the semester.

“I thought it was really fun, very informative, and there are things that I didn’t know about kayaking that I got to practice and got to ask questions, which I thought was really cool,” she said.

Bailey Simon, a senior marketing major, discussed how he enjoyed the lesson and learned more about kayaking.

“I think R.J. is very knowledgeable about kayaking and so he was able to teach us a lot of things,” he said. “He also made it enjoyable. He had some games and stuff prepared to help to make it not seem like it was like a class or something, but something you were, like, actually wanting to attend.”

Simon said even if the participant has never kayaked before, this is the opportunity to learn.

“I think it’s a good thing for them to try out,” he said. “It’s very cheap compared to other places. The gear is brand new also, so they can come out and see what a new kayak looks like and get some first hand experience on it.” 

The rec center limited each session to five participants to stay in line with the university’s COVID-19 protocols. The instructors follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines in and out of the kayaks.

“We’re able to keep distance in the kayaks, we’re able to keep distance on deck. Everybody has their own equipment so nobody is sharing the equipment,” Markowitz said.

To check the number of open spots for each session, check the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center website. 

“We encourage you to learn now, but if that’s not in your comfort level right now, summer and fall [we] will be offering even more, so stay tuned,” Markowitz said.