The Crusaders are a group of INCC junior paddlers aged between 10 and 14 years. The group consists of 20 paddlers both boys and girls and 4 coaches. The Crusaders train every Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm in Terms 1,2 and 3. The Crusaders was formed in 2010, with the majority of the original participants still paddling either with their schools or the group. The aim of the program is to introduce junior paddlers to kayaking within a fun, safe and supportive environment. The INCC committee has been extremely supportive purchasing equipment specifically for younger participants and supporting coaches.
Apart from weekly training sessions the Crusaders participate in other activities. We race regularly and over the Cup long weekend in 2012 the group plus siblings, friends and family members totalling 56 people camped at Lake Eildon for 3 nights.
“The Camp” for me was a real highlight it was fantastic to spend time with paddlers and their family and friends in a beautiful natural environment. We loaded the club trailer with TK’s, K boats and even a plastic tub and spent 3 days on Lake Eildon paddling on the Lake often with power boats, jet ski’s etc. Although challenging with metre high waves on occasions our outstanding Crusaders “powered” through and demonstrated outstanding skills. Apart from paddling we had opportunities to fish, go on bush walks, bike rides, horse-riding, water fights, build fires and do other “camp stuff”. One of the Crusaders Sam Madden even organised a treasure hunt. I always think camping is such a great experience for young people as it is a very free environment and very different from our everyday lives. We are planning to make the Lake Eildon Camp an annual Crusaders event. A big thanks to Lawrie who towed the boat trailer negotiating the Black Spur and to Reka and her husband Pete who also attended.
Racing in 2012 – 2013 has also been a highlight with both paddlers and coaches racing in both Sprint and Marathon events. The coaches determine what races we attend throughout the year and provide boat transport, coaches, and entry information however a number of our keen Crusaders not only participate in these races but do extras – which is fantastic. In 2013, the Crusaders have been or will be represented at the following races: Jan 19th Sprint 200 Metre Regatta at Essendon, Feb 3rd Sprint Grand Prix at Nagambie, March 2nd & March 3rd Summer Finale Marathon at Footscray, March 23rd & 24th Sprint and Marathon All Schools Marathon Championships Essendon, May 19th Marathon Winter Series Race 2 at Patterson Lakes. It should be noted that the wider paddling community is very supportive of our group and we often receive comments on what a talented and committed group we are.
Finally, at our AGM and Presentation evening held in November, 2012 three Crusaders were awarded trophies for their contribution to the program. Congratulations to Bridget Barnes and Jack Rayner who were awarded female and male respectively Junior Paddler of the year. This award recognises their regular attendance to training sessions and regattas and competition results. Congratulations also to Will Camfield who received the Coaches Award this award is based on the paddler’s enthusiasm for the sport, team spirit, willingness to assist other paddlers and general good sportsmanship.
Carol Osborn, Crusader Coach