When Sue came on the school camp as an aid to the kids having social and learning difficulties we teamed up when the day came to take our group canoeing.
Sue was one of those people with the wonderful personality that allowed her to connect with the kids she worked with.
But on the day canoeing was on the agenda she was a bag of nerves. She’d never tried it before so was uncertain as to whether or not she’d succeed.
I tried to reassure her that she would do fine and so with our floatation devices firmly attached we managed to get into the canoe, often a hazardous endeavour in itself, with Sue in the bow and me behind.
We each had a paddle to maneuver the canoe onto the water.
We were fortunate it was a still day as it was easy paddling and the sight of the vegetation mirrored in the water was something to always remember.
Sue worried the whole time that she was getting it wrong and yes, we did go in a few circles at the start, but I coaxed her to paddle with a sense of rhythm. Easier said than done and so with a lot of correcting from me we managed to stay with the rest of the group paddling ahead of us.
You get a sense of perspective when you have to deal with people who lack co-ordination, what appears to be straight forward from your perspective must be a real physical struggle for others.
Shamelessly I did find some moments funny when I’d say paddle now, and she’d stop trying to remember where the paddle should be. So, I’d stop for if I kept paddling, we’d have ended up in circles again and likely up on the bank of the waterway.
In a way it was a shame she didn’t enjoy it, it meant she didn’t have time to take in the scenery, she spent all her time trying to do her bit to stay afloat and get back to dry land.
But for me, the stunning scenery made it all worthwhile, and I was lucky to be able to do this exercise a few times over the years.