This summer I (Katelyn Green) got the opportunity to work at Zoar as intern, learning how to teach kayaking. I spent each weekend on the water listening and watching the different teaching styles of every instructor, and getting to teach on my own as well, which was scarier than some of the rapids I go through I think!
Last year I spent my summer as a student at Zoar, and I didn’t pay much attention to the instructor’s point of view, obviously not knowing I would be sitting on the other side of the eddy this summer. It was interesting for me to gain this new and invaluable perspective that has made me a better boater and a better person. Before my summer here at Zoar, I was terrified to talk at the beginning of a clinic about my previous paddling experience, or share my goals for the day. I would get extremely nervous talking in front of the other people, even in school Now I am comfortable enough to ask other people those same questions and feel personal with people I have only just met. Having come from that position, I feel as though I can connect with people who walk into the school, because I understand how overwhelming and the experience can be sometimes.
My internship included all the regular duties of a Zoar Instructor, excluding driving the vans and things like that. I got to put together the lunches, fit students with gear and boats, hand out waivers, and of course, teaching. All of these jobs were new to me when I started and throughout the summer I have learned the routine in the mornings before the customers arrive. I also learned the curriculum of a standard Novice clinic as well as becoming more familiarized with the best teaching spots on the river.
My first year at Zoar not only greatly increased my paddling skill and confidence, it also increased my public speaking and customer service skills. When I am paddling with friends I feel better equipped because I learned how to teach a lot of basic skills to other people. Prior to this summer, I could do most of the skills, but it was a matter of naming the skill and breaking it down for a student that hadn’t done it before.
Overall, my first year of internship at Zoar has been life-changing. I love the work-atmosphere and the awesome people who work at this awesome company. I gained a lot of confidence and now belong to an amazing group of people. I can’t wait for next year! – Katelyn Green