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Canoemobile Comes to Silver Bay

On the morning of September 20th, forty 3rd and 4th grade students from William Kelley School stood in a circle at the boat launch on Lax Lake in Silver Bay. A thick layer of fog covered the lake, while the bright colors of trees already turning popped through the mist.

An instructor from Wilderness Inquiry spoke to the gathered students about the natural features of the area and respecting the land and nature.

The children then were divided into four groups, an instructor from Wilderness Inquiry with each group, and the groups split up to learn basic canoeing skills – how to hold a paddle, fit a lifejacket, and board a canoe. The children’s excitement was evident as the fog lifted and the first group entered their 10-person canoe on the glassy lake.

“What are you going to name your canoe?” an instructor asked his group. “The Lobster!” the children enthusiastically replied. With paddles flailing and stroking, each group of young canoeists successfully conquered Lax Lake. The 3rd and 4th grade students were on the lake until 11 a.m., at which time they returned to William Kelley. The 5th and 6th graders then got a turn in the canoes.

Wilderness Inquiry is a St. Paul-based non-profit, with the mission of connecting people of all ages and abilities through outdoor adventures. From September 19-21, Wilderness Inquiry brought their Canoemobile program to Tower, Silver Bay, and Cloquet, connecting with over 300 elementary, middle, and high school students. Hands-on learning experiences took place on Lake Vermillion, Lax Lake, and the St. Louis River.

Described as a “floating classroom”, the Canoemobile provides immersive outdoor adventures for youth. Students and families learn from the seat of a 10-person canoe. Since 2010, Canoemobile has provided more than 200,000 participants nationwide with hands-on learning experiences. And, as I’m sure the students who experienced the Canoemobile would tell you, school is fun when the view is from canoes.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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