Item in latest on kids and the WCHA

Larry Meyer

Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
Latest issue of Wooden Canoe arrived. It’s very good. What caught my eye and got me thinking was item on page 14 about younger members. While it accurately depicts kids program at the assembly, also sadly true is that’s about it for kids and the WCHA! And without that generation the future is bleak.

My own two daughters, practically since they were born, have lived with and enjoyed our two Chestnuts. My eldest, now in college, immensely enjoyed the one assembly she attended. Now at college she tried out a kayak and found it just didn’t suit her: she prefers the Prospector. My youngest, now 13, is ashamed to paddle anything less than wood-canvas. So these loyalties and tastes start young.

I suspect what fuels many a mature member’s loyalties is childhood associations too. The problem is these canoes were common fifty years ago, but popularly almost invisible now.

So I strongly agree that if we don’t make an effort, we preservationists are as doomed to extinction as was once thought the wood-canvas canoe.

What to do? Wish I knew. One thought maybe is that daughters like mine who have slipped off to college could be supplied a subscription to Wooden Canoe. Maybe the WCHA could encourage parents to keep such in the loop by offering a discount juvenile subscription offer: for five bucks more on the basic membership the wayfaring collegians get a copy of WC too. What catches the eye of my daughter’s classmates is her laptop bag by Duluth Tent and Awning.

Investing in the young is frustrating as it takes a long time before you get a return on the investment. It’s also hard to tell when you’ve planted a seed and made a convert that might sprout in 20 years.

Anyway, I’m glad this item is on the WCHA’s agenda and applaud Annie Burke and Patty MacLeish for taking it on. When I get a brainstorm I will pass it on and do what I can too