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Instructional Offerings - ACA Canoe Classes


Bob Foote
615 Venice
Sugar Land , TX 77478

Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) helps students become acquainted with the American Canoe Association model of instruction, paddling and leadership necessary in touring canoe. Experienced paddlers who do not desire certification are welcome to take advantage of this valuable training opportunity, as well as those desiring to become instructors. The teaching techniques, paddling skills, technical knowledge and rescue and safety competencies necessary for successful completion of the Instructor Certification Exam (ICE) will be reviewed and modeled during this course. We will focus on fine-tuning each candidate’s paddling, rescue, group management and teaching skills, river reading ability, as well as expanding their knowledge in various aspects of canoeing. Each participant will be assigned and have an opportunity to present a 12-minute talk to the class during the IDW, as well as some other impromptu talks. This dress rehearsal allows the candidate to receive valuable feedback from their peers and the IT(s). The IDW provides students with a benchmark from which to evaluate their level of competency and identify those areas where they need work before attending the ICE. The IDW is a prerequisite for the Instructor Certification Exam.


Instructor Certification Examination (ICE) primarily serves as an opportunity to evaluate the Instructor Candidate for certification. Participation in this course does not guarantee certification. Candidates should be proficient in all skills on the appropriate ACA course outlines before attending the ICE. Throughout the certification process, candidates will be instructed and evaluated on the required proficiencies and must be able to consistently perform all of the skills. Currently there are three levels of canoe certification (solo and tandem) in the “River” branch of the ACA:


(1.) Introduction to Canoe

(2.) Essentials of River Canoe

(3.) Whitewater Canoeing.


Please refer to the “River Cert. Requirements” document to review the proficiency requirements for each level of certification.


Each candidate in the ICE will be assigned a 12-minute teaching topic to present. This may include classroom, shore-side and on-water topics. These presentations should be concise talks geared to beginning students in an ACA Quickstart, Introduction to Canoe, Essentials to River Canoe and/or Whitewater class. This is not a chance for you to tell us how much you know, but rather to demonstrate how well you can sort through all the available information to give a beginner what they need to know in an efficient and effective manner. In addition, each candidate will be given an impromptu (3 to 5 minute) presentation on a topic, which should be familiar to all instructors (i.e. sizing PFD’s) and various strokes, maneuvers and rescues to present to the group.


How to Prepare for the Course:

  • Look over the enclosed packet. Be sure to review the ACA course outlines, waiver and other materials. Note anything that you have questions on. The most current outlines are available on the ACA web page (
  • You must be a current member of the ACA before the start of the class. You can sign up online. Bring your ACA number and appropriate paperwork to class on the first day.
  • Be in good physical condition. The days will be long and full.
  • Bring any canoe books/materials that you feel will be helpful in preparing your presentations.
  • Prepare teaching and presentation aids.
  • Write up your two presentation outlines and be ready to give a 12-minute talk on one of them. Make enough copies of your outlines to distribute them to the group.
  • Make sure your personal paddling gear and attire is in proper working condition.
  • The class starts on time, whether you are there or not. Arrive ahead of time to give yourself plenty of time to unload and prepare your boat and equipment.

What to Bring:

  • Bring all of your personal equipment, including appropriate boats and accessories to be on and in the water. Particularly for the ICE, it is assumed that Instructor Candidates will own or have access to all necessary equipment (beg or borrow if can). Contact us if you need information on canoe rentals.
  • Bring a folding chair or something to sit on and a notebook and pencil.
  • Lunches will be working lunches, so bring a bag lunch that is simple and quick.Include lots of snacks and fluid.
  • While we will try to build in some time for relaxation in the evening, you should be prepared to spend evenings involved in classroom presentations, group study, video review, etc. Therefore our dinners might be simple and quick group meals (i.e. Pizza, sandwiches)


Instructor candidates come to the workshops with a wide range of prior paddling instruction and teaching experience. While certification is an eventual goal of many candidates, it should be emphasized that becoming certified as an ACA instructor is a learning process…a journey. If you concentrate more on the journey and a little less on the destination, you will come out ahead. To get the most out of the IDW/ICE we encourage candidates to try and keep the following in mind.

  • Maintain an objective and a non-judgmental attitude for yourself and others.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas. There is not just one way to paddle or teach
  • The best teachers are also good students.
  • Don’t be afraid of not knowing.
  • View feedback as an opportunity to grow and become better. Sometimes the best response to personal feedback is just two words - “thank you.”


If you have any questions regarding the class please do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to working with you.



Thanks – Bob Foote

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