The Falcon Center on the shared main campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College is offering kayak roll sessions for the second year to students and community members.
The training, a collaborative effort between Falcon Center staff and Jan Kiger, a professor in the School of Education, Health and Human Performance, is designed to teach participants how to safely right a capsized kayak. The sessions are held in the Falcon Center pool on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. and will continue until March 9.
This program was first offered last spring and began as a simple idea from Kiger. The idea began to build traction after a member of the community approached Tina Mascaro, Director of Intramurals and Recreation, about offering a kayak roll course. With the help of Mascaro and Kevin Philyaw, Assistant Director of the Falcon Center, the course became a reality.
“Tina just made it happen. Once everybody saw how popular it was, how this will be the most people in the pool at this hour of the night, ever, they were all about doing it,” Kiger said. “It was definitely a cooperative effort.”
While most of the participants are from the community, several students attend as well. Many of these students have worked with Kiger before through their involvement in the Outdoor Recreation Leadership Minor or the Explorers Club of Fairmont. Kiger has taught courses in the minor for several years and is serving as the advisor to the student club. Participants don’t have to be experienced kayakers to take part, and three white water kayaks and other equipment is available for use by those who do not have their own boat. The sessions are mixed with seasoned boaters and beginners alike, with about 10 to 12 participants.
One of the students who has attended both years, Makayla Metzger, had little experience and a slight fear of water when she first began. With Kiger’s help, she was able to learn to roll last year. Metzger, a Biology major and a member of the Explorers Club, has also received help from other participants at the roll sessions.
“I’ve actually met a lot of people from the community and they’ve helped teach me different techniques, and they’ve also offered to take me on boat trips with them so I can get more experience in the water,” Metzger said. “I’m not just learning from Jan but from everybody. They’ve helped explain things to me in different ways.”
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