Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Voyageur

The Voyageur is the highest level of the canoe awards. It is quite difficult and usually only one camper per summer earns his or her Voyageur. A Voyageur must have his or her Bowman Sternman, and Triple Swimmer before he or she qualifies to begin the Voyageur requirements. Some of the requirements include expanded canoe and paddle nomenclature, expertise in bow and stern strokes, solo racking and launching of a canoe, a solo portage to the Moose River, and a solo paddle from camp to Old Forge (while trailed by a counselor and lifeguard).

The Voyageur is completed by taking a test with John Leach to ensure full knowledge of all aspects of the canoe. A Voyageur is not awarded a patch but rather is given a copy of Paul Jamieson's (recent editions co-authored by Donald Morris) class Adirondack Canoe Waters of the North Flow.

The Voyageur is a rigorous test of physical ability as well as knowledge and judgement. Canoeing is a "day to learn, lifetime to master" type skill. The nuances of handling a paddle and canoe to prevent wear and damage, the variety of strokes, and the knowledge of rivers and lakes are aspects of canoeing that can take years to fully master. An AWC Voyageur, though usually 14 or 15 years old, is well ahead of the curve in mastery of canoeing.
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