This week’s Kids Up North has kids picking up their paddles and gliding with The Outfitter’s three-day Kids Kayak Camps happening from June 29-August 17 in Harbor Springs.  Each Tuesday-Thursday session is designed to teach kids ages 9-12 all they need to know to be successful on the water. MyNorth docked alongside Outfitter owner Molly Ames Baker to learn more.

MyNorth: How do these day camps encapsulate what it means to be a kid up north?

Molly Ames Baker: We want kids to experience being on the water while they’re having fun and working together—kayaking is a great way to do this!  Our kayak camps are about learning a lifelong sport while gaining life skills (all taught by way of games and group initiatives).

MyNorth: What are some of the most important things paddle campers will learn?

Molly Ames Baker: Our focus is on building the skills needed to travel safely in open water: paddle strokes, wet exits, rescues and group travel.  We also emphasize teamwork as a foundation for safe group travel. 

MyNorth:  You and your husband Josh once ran the Outdoor Education program at Colgate, which means you must have a pretty good idea about how to make a skills camp about more than just “skills.”  What are some of your secrets?

Molly Ames Baker: Building a positive learning environment where kids respect each other and support each other’s learning is key. Having fun in spite of bugs, wind, rain, or frustration also is important.

MyNorth:  What makes kayaking one of the ultimate ways to experience the waters of Northern Michigan?

Molly Ames Baker (an excellent list maker): 1) You can get pretty much anywhere you want to go in a kayak; across the bay, up the shoreline, around an inland lake or down a river.  2) Kayaks are easy to transport. 3) It’s one of the least expensive ways to get out on the water, just rent (or buy) a kayak, paddle, lifejacket and you’re good to go! 4) It’s great exercises for the whole body, not just the arms. 5) You’re right on top of the water—literally—feeling the pull and wind and spray firsthand. 6) It’s a lifelong sport (as long as you keep enough flexibility to get in and out of the boat)….Did I mention that it’s fun?

To sign up for The Outfitter’s three-day kayak camps, call 231-526-2621 or visit for more information.

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