As families gear up for summer, we here at Gulf Coast Kayak are in full swing planning activities for our H2O Kayak Adventure Camp! One of the most enjoyable things about running a summer paddling camp is watching kids learn about safety, paddling, and environmental stewardship all while having fun! The pure joy in a child’s face when they paddle for the first time or catch a fish from a kayak is almost indescribable! Because our mission is to promote paddle sports safety and environmental stewardship, all of our kayak camp counselors are American Canoe Association (ACA) Certified Kayak and/or Paddle Board Instructors and Florida Master Naturalist Graduates. We work hard to instill the importance of safety on the water, while fostering a love for ecology and conservation, by using a variety of educational tools and activities on and off the water. Most of the outdoor enthusiasts that enroll in our camp, whether returning or new, all enjoy being on the water and are adventure seekers always up for trying something new! The first day of camp we start with learning proper strokes, safety and hazards and get them right into the water with competitive kayak and paddle board races which always seems to be a favorite among campers! Our little beach launch behind our shop is the ideal location for these first day activities, as it helps us keep the kids close to shore in order to get them acclimated to the water and paddling. Day 2 we get right into trip planning and the importance of reading maps, knowing weather and tide, and bringing all your essential gear. Taking paddling trips into Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve is also a favorite among campers as it gives them an opportunity to put into practice what they learned on the first day. We go out and explore deep into the mangrove wilderness and spend our day safely collecting marine species and learning about the different flora and fauna found here in our estuary! If you ever find yourself in Matlacha during the summer be sure to look out over the Matlacha Bridge and maybe you’ll spot our group of campers eagerly paddling towards a new destination seeking their next adventure on the water!