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Youth Development Program
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Kayaking - Youth DevelopmentThe ACA is committed to providing the youth of today, and tomorrow with the opportunity of experiencing the outdoors via a canoe, kayak, stand up paddleboard or raft. Having FUN (and teaching safety), in and around water is a vital component of any paddlesports youth education program. Children are not only the future of paddlesport, they are also the future stewards of our rivers, lakes, streams, seas, and oceans.

As with any youth educational program, a progression based approach is crucial to learning:

  • Paddle Safe - Paddle Smart curriculum: components of this curriculum can be used for an inside or 'dry land' course as well as on the water
  • Smartstart Paddling Orientation: approximately a one hour program that can be used for a wide range of youth groups both on and off the water
  • Level 1: Introduction to Paddling skills courses ideal on water courses for children to learn the basics, and safety, of paddling
  • Skills Assessment Program: as responsibility and paddling skills progress, these assessments are a logical next step
  • Paddle Quest: A fun, interactive paddle game app for smart phones and tablets!

The ACA has several youth programs:


For more information about how to teach paddlesports to youth or promote paddlesport safety for youth, please contact the Safety Education & Instruction Department.



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ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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ACA | Canoe-Kayak-SUP-Raft-Rescue
503 Sophia St. Suite 100
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Phone: 540-907-4460
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