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2021 Kayak Classes

Our 2020 classes were abruptly canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic caused stay at home orders to go into effect in mid-March. As 2021 nears, multiple vaccines have just become available for distribution through the first half of the year. Accordingly, we have scheduled a very basic schedule for the first part of the year and will adjust through the year as conditions warrant. 

To host our classes, we need to satisfy four essential ingredients: 1) a host venue to provide facilities and lifeguards, as well as course registration; 2) insurance coverage to meet the requirements of the host venue and NEWP, Inc., 3) qualified instructors able and available to provide instruction and 4) people willing to register and participate in the classes!

Our Kayak Essentials class covers a very comprehensive curriculum in four three-hour sessions. Our current sense is a four-session class is too great a commitment for most participants and instructors at this point, so we are introducing a Kayak Paddle Clinic. This is a single-session, three-hour class with a solid introductory curriculum. The curriculum includes a short classroom session to cover some essentials that cannot be effectively presented in a pool setting, with the balance of the time spent in the pool to cover wet exits, balance, basic paddle strokes and an introduction to assisted rescues. We hope to resume our standard Kayak Essentials class later in 2021 or in 2022. 

Registration is available through the YMCA and City of Appleton websites.

Fox Cities YMCA Registration Page (Search for “Kayak”)

You do not need to be a member of the YMCA or NEWP, Inc. to participate in our classes – all you need is your swimsuit and a smile!

Kayak Classes Overview / Background Information

Learn basic paddling skills, bracing strokes, rolls and rescues from our American Canoe Association-certified instructors. Kayaking in waves or rapids is serious business, so you need to know the proper techniques and use the necessary equipment to keep you and your group safe. Those who complete the class may join a summer student outing. We offer:

Kayak Paddle Clinic: Introductory class, covering boat types, PFDs, skirts and paddles with instruction in wet exits, basic paddle strokes and an introduction to assisted rescues. 

Kayak Essentials: Comprehensive class for people who have not had prior kayak skills instruction. Each of the four three-hour sessions is split between classroom and pool. Focus is on skill development and safety, including wet exits, bow rescues, basic strokes, bracing, solo and assisted rescues. NEWP 2020 Kayak Essentials Outline

Rolls & Rescues: Participants must first complete the Kayak Essentials class or have equivalent training approved by the instructor. This class teaches a variety of boat re-entry or rescue techniques and Eskimo roll skills. Rolls and Rescues Outline.

Student Outing: NEWP caps off its indoor class season with an opportunity to practice your new skills on “real” water the first weekend in June! These events are for participants in NEWP classes in the current year and all other current club members. We offer both a whitewater outing and a coastal outing (on Lake Michigan).  Student outing details

Class Fees: Fee information is available at the Fox Cities YMCAGreen Bay YMCA and City of Appleton Recreation Department websites. The fee you pay is split between the host organization to cover the cost of the facility use and lifeguards, and by NEWP to purchase and maintain boats and other equipment. All instructors and assistant instructors provide their time and talent on a voluntary basis. The club currently maintains a fleet of nearly 50 whitewater and sea kayaks, plus all the assorted support equipment required to go with the boats.

How to Dress: Swim wear, aqua socks or appropriate footwear. A synthetic T-shirt or lightweight neoprene is optional for comfort in the pool. Shorts or leggings are recommended over regular swim suits that are “bikini style” to avoid abrasion from climbing in and out of the boats. Nose clips will be available to use, or to purchase for a nominal fee. Boats, paddles and all other gear required for the class are provided by the NEWP.

Registration: Available online through the host YMCA or City facility, as listed for each class. The classes are open to both YMCA members and non-members – all are also encouraged to participate in the classes.


Open Pools: Available at the downtown Appleton YMCA for NEWP members and students on the same Sundays as when classes are scheduled at that location. Open pool sessions may also be scheduled in Green Bay. Current-year students are entitled to free open pool participation. Other current NEWP/ ACA members may participate for $5 (Appleton) or $10 (Broadview) per session.

NEWP boats and gear are available for use or participants may bring their own boats and gear into the pool if it is clean and free of debris. These general guidelines must be followed during open pool sessions:

  1. Paddlers who are socializing or resting should either leave the pool or move to the side to allow other paddlers room to practice.
  2. Be aware that the host facility life guard has ultimate control of the pool area; lifeguard instructions must be followed immediately at all times.
  3. Personal boats and gear brought into the pool must be clean prior to entry, which includes removal of float bags for the pool session.
  4. Boats must be in the water when entered, not “seal-launched” off the pool deck.

Class Logistics

Kayak Paddle Clinic

Fox West YMCA (Greenville): Noon-3:00 p.m., Saturday January 23 and Sunday January 31. Lead Instructors is Jeff Mazanec, with support from other ACA certified instructors and assistants. Class size limited to 12. Winter Session I; registration opens in mid-December.

Fox Cities YMCA (Appleton):  2-5 p.m. Sunday afternoons, February 7 and 21, 2020. Lead Instructor isJeff Mazanec, with support from other ACA certified instructors and assistants. Class size limited to 12. Winter Session I; registration opens in mid-December.

Broadview YMCA (Green Bay): TBD

Erb Pool – City of Appleton Recreation Department: Classes are currently in planning for early August 2020 and will be announced here as soon as confirmed.

Kayak Essentials Class

Currently none scheduled for 2021, pending ongoing changes in recommendations for interpersonal contact. 

Rolls & Rescues

We currently do not have any Roll and Rescue classes scheduled for 2021. By its nature, this class requires extended and close contact between the student and the instructor. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to safely provide training in these skills through the year. 

Fox Cities YMCA (Appleton): TBD

Broadview YMCA (Green Bay): TBD

Open Pool

We currently do not have any open pool sessions scheduled for 2021. We will continue to investigate opportunities for open pool time and update this page and our Facebook page with any changes.