kayak group info. wanted

great suggestion
that is a terrific idea…thanks

it did eventually
fall off into the Monday skills group and then the monthly paddle group. i work 4- 12 hour days so Monday is the only weekday i have to paddle …but that has been skills day. hmmm still thinking this whole thing through. It might just end up being a few of us hard core type of people. we don’t mind traveling.

good point…
before this year i basically paddling alone. now i look forward to a day to myself by myself. so i guess i have accomplished a lot in just a few months. i do think i set the bar to high. I try hard to progress in my own little world and shouldn’t think that everyone wants to do that. there is a small number of us that do and i should be happy enough w/ that. yes… i think i will be.

May be a plan
As below, ending up with a smaller but more predictable and reliable group may be the most enjoyable in the long run.

And frankly, people showing up in their brand shiny new pumkinseed boats are going to be challenged to participate in some of the skills stuff anyway. It’s probably better to keep those folks as occasional participants, let them plug into the easier stuff that works for them and see if it piques their interest in going further.

You are doing a great job.
Those list of hints is very good.

I think this is typical group behaviour. I am a member in a few groups of various interests. Some clubs sport 500 members. To visit the club and run into another member you did not bring with you is rare.

If you managed to put together a few successful trips this summer, I say good for you. I have published on here repeatedly trying to attract paddlers and only once in three years has anyone ever showed up. Hey, I am a fun, friendly, family guy, but fail to attract any participants. I have loads of friends with loads of boats and can barely convince them to get them off the racks a couple times per year.

Don’t beat yourself up. Decide what type of group you want, that may vary from week to week, but stick with it. If it is an athletic workout day, specify that. If it is a muckle up beer float, let them know. It is your site and your group, you get to decide. So, what if the largest number of participants consistently join the activity that is your least favorite? How long will you be satisfied with that?

You probably will get another surge in the spring, then taper again. Folks have to get out of the cave after winter. When school gets out, there is a whole other list of issues. If you wish for this to be women only, I would stick with that, regardless of participation level.

Same boat here!

– Last Updated: Oct-15-09 10:05 AM EST –

Our stories are similar. I started an email list to connect paddlers in our area. There are not many of us despite all the water around us.

Then I started a weekly paddle. We meet at the same time, same day, just different places to keep out of a rut. We started out with big groups and by late summer I was the only one at the last couple of paddles. I was basically down to two paddlers that would show up but they couldn't come each week and I finally just quit planning it and just totally discouraged.

I joined a local club and it's about the same way with the flat water paddlers. No one willing to lead trips, low turn out if they do. It really is discouraging.

The email list is still active, but like others have said, I have 50+ members on the list and maybe 10 active? Two or three that actually paddle regularly.

FWIW, if you have a small group that shows up I think you should be celebrating! You did better than me!

What I have found is there are few hard core paddlers that really want to paddle all the time. Most I meet are 2-3 times a summer. There are few that paddle once month and very very few that paddle weekly.

thanks it’s nice to
know that i am not alone. it doesn’t sound like you are around here or you could join us!

I am a few hundred miles south of you. :slight_smile:

Getting people together
is tough. Most of my friends are way over-extended and it is hard to get a group together for anything. I have a small women’s group for outdoor activities (mostly kayak, hike, XC ski)and only a handful, or none, can come to any given event. But for those that do come, for some it is a life-changing experience - to be with other strong women and to learn a new skill can be empowering. I know that a few of the people in my group have been very grateful to me for taking the time to organize these special days and multi-day trips. For that, it is worth the trouble. Really, it is not so much trouble to send out an announcement to a bunch of people. If someone can come, great. If not, I usually just go alone if it is something I really want to do. Then, I send pictures to everyone so they can see what they missed! That’s when I hear from a bunch of them who tell me how much they really wanted to come, but had to do such and such instead.

Don’t give up. Try new things and don’t set your expectations too high. If I lived closer to you, I would paddle with you, but it is a little too far for a day trip.

thanks, i think that i am in a better
place after reading everyones thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

What would happen if you opened it up to all paddlers and made your MeetUp group Coed?

A bunch of horn dogs
would show up and ruin a perfectly good female club.

Not necessarily
I think mixed groups can work out very well. They did for me. But, if you have your heart set on a women’s only group, then stick with that.

And, to use two cliches: Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s all good.

maybe i should send out an email
asking the group if they would rather have a coed group or what they are really looking for. i will run it by a friend that is helping me with this.

Men could ruin it
or not. If there are other groups in the area you could run some events together while maintaining your autonomy.

Our group always has a great turn out on demo day/pot luck dinner. Everyone shares their ride and we feast. We also open this event to other groups in the area.

More Suggestions
Most kayak dealers hold demo days where people can come out and try kayaks. You might try having a “Meet & Greet” in conjunction with their demo day. Invite all the people who are part of your group to come meet you and other potential paddling partners. Even if they only meet you, they will then be more likely to come to one of your paddle events. Most people are more comfortable going paddling with someone they have at least met.

Something else you might consider is modifying your thinking to trying to be a place where people can find others to paddle with. Out of that might come a number of “small groups” and maybe a female group.

When I looked at the “Meet up” form, it asked what you were interested in, not what you had experience doing or even knew anything about. Over the years we have met a lot of people who were “interested” in kayaks and knew nothing about them. You might need to start with some basic education either personally or better yet through a shop that has boats, instructors and insurance.

There have been discussions on this board about the problems and liabilities (legal and otherwise) of groups and clubs so I won‘t go into that.

Good luck. I hope you are successful. We need more people in boats.

North Country
Where you are located there is simply small population base to start with so that fact alone is going to heavily impact your turnout. In the southern part of the state there are several coed Clubs & MeetUps and from what I’ve seen, being coed has had no negative effects. Most want to enjoy a paddle and I’m sure a few are looking for a social connection, but they are all using the environment and activity for what it is, Common Ground.

we have at least an hour to any local
paddle shops. i will post when any demos days are…if i can obtain the info. ahead of time. It’s hard where we are located because we are so far away there isn’t any advertising done in our papers etc… i have to search the internet and then try to get people to take a whole day away from home to look at boats. not always an easy task if you aren’t totally into the kayaking thing like a small number of us are. but lots of good info. thanks

for the help.

It might help
to contact those paddle shops an hour away and ask if you can post a flyer about your group. Maybe leave some cards for them to give out if people in the shop talk about looking for people to paddle with. The local EMS here has “Clubs Days” and any club can set up a table and give out info.