Handbuilt Kayaks Making a Splash in Abiquiu

Yesterday was a big day for our 7th-9th grade students from Española. After months of hard work on their handmade kayaks and a brief test float, it was time for a celebration of our adventure.

Unfortunately, as is common with spring in New Mexico, the weather didn’t quite cooperate. It was cloudy and quite cool.

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Getting some instructions
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Carrying boats to the lake

We do have some very exciting news- Kelly Gossett from New Mexico Kayak Instruction generously donated paddles for our students!

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Picking out a paddle

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Once again our fantastic partners with the US Army Corps of Engineers at Abiquiu Lake were on hand with loaner life jackets.

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A brief water safety talk
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Getting life jackets

Our students demonstrated that they know how to launch their own boats and began to paddle!

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Finally on the water!

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Due to the weather (and very high waves thanks to high winds), we decided to hang out close to the ramp. Lake temperatures are still very cold!

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We caught our students showing off a bit this time as they became more familiar with their boats. We saw many kayak races and even some students paddling backwards!

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We saw lots of big smiles!

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After paddling all around our cove many times, our students worked up an appetite. We headed for our group shelter to roast some hot dogs!

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Warming hands on the grill

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Our students’ families joined us for this celebration of the hard work our students have put in this year.

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At the end of the day, our students carried their kayaks up from the lake, loaded them on their vehicles, and headed off.IMG_8266

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Before our students left, we conducted a little interview in which we asked the students how they enjoyed building their kayaks and what they felt they learned. Along with the comments about students enjoying the work with power tools and exploring the lake, we heard this:

“[My favorite part of building kayaks was] working with each other as a team and getting to know each other better.”

“[I learned that] you don’t have to buy everything. You can make your own.”

“[Building kayaks has] built my self confidence because I was able to know that I built something and it worked well.”

Keep an eye out for our students paddling around local lakes this summer! We’ve gotten them hooked on having fun on the water!

 

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