provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Sanibel Sea School is pleased to offer another week of a female-led, girls-only paddleboarding camp—Wahine Toa—June 20-24. Appropriately named, wahine toa, is a Polynesian phrase that roughly translates to “fierce ocean woman warrior.” The week is designed to inspire women empowerment and nudge participants out of their comfort zones. Girls will have the opportunity to not only build friendships but also enhance their confidence with a variety of paddle-based and life-skills activities.
Sanibel Sea School Marine Science Educator Kim Bouwkamp will be leading the camp. “I am excited to get out on the water with the group and help them learn necessary skills while having a lot of fun. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Michigan near many waterways and spent a lot of summers paddling and exploring. Paddling is a great way to immerse yourself in a new environment and open yourself up to many different experiences in nature.”
Campers will learn strokes and techniques needed to feel confident on the water. Rain or shine, they will be launching on SUPs for day trips to explore different areas around the island. They will learn how to navigate, read the water, anticipate changes in tides and winds, and trip planning. Skills will be put to the test on an epic scavenger hunt through the East End canals.
Although the focus of the week is paddling, there will be opportunities for the girls to learn life skills such as how to jumpstart a car and hook up a trailer. In addition, all campers will have the chance to become certified in CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), first aid, and AED (automated external defibrillator) proficiency through the American Heart Association. “These are important skills to have in life, no matter what career or life path these girls choose,” said Bouwkamp.
The greatest challenge of all will be at the end of the week because these fierce ocean women warriors will paddle six miles from the causeway to Fort Myers Beach after spending the night on an uninhabited island! Campers should be prepared to spend a week overcoming discomfort, exhaustion, and, of course, mosquitoes and no-see-ums, to gain impactful experiences and memories for a lifetime. Do you know a girl up for the challenge?