Founded in 2002, Qajaq Training Camp is an Official Qajaq USA event. It takes place at Camp Lookout, near Frankfort, Michigan. There is no road access to the camp. Our only access is by kayak or pontoon boat, making this a true full-immersion Traditional Greenland Kayaking event. With only around sixty attendees and a very high mentor-to-student ratio, training is flexible and focused on helping everyone succeed, whether you have never been in a kayak before, or have decades of experience. With the exception of youth scholarship attendees, this event is intended for adults.
Camp Lookout has several unique attributes, chief among them Lower Herring Lake, a warm, crystal clear inland lake with a sandy bottom, and Lake Michigan, which affords a variety of conditions depending on weather. The two lakes are connected by a small outlet which flows between them.
Our mentors represent the full spectrum of the paddling community, from expedition to whitewater, surfing, racing, and building. What brings them together is the love of Greenland kayaking, whether strokes, rolling, rope gymnastics, building gear and kayaks, or using harpoons. Regardless of your experience or interests there will be mentors and attendees to help you have a remarkable experience.
Special Guest Mentors:
Joanne Barta embodies the educational values of Qajaq USA, teaching Greenland kayaking skills to students of all ages from her home town of Milwaukie, Oregon, to events around the country. Joanne is also an avid builder of kayaks, paddles, and kayaking gear, and in addition to teaching kayaking skills she collaborates with Don Beale to help students successfully build their own Greenland paddles.
Don Beale is known throughout the Greenland kayaking community in the United States as a master builder of Greenland paddles. In high demand at events he has the magical ability to take students from piece of wood to beautiful paddle in a day and a half. After the paddles are built, Don turns his attention to teaching, where skills honed paddling the rocky coasts of Oregon help his students succeed on the water.
Qajaq USA’s mission is to “preserve, study, and promote the traditions of Greenland kayaking.” This year we will hear from Qajaq TC Mentors about their extended kayaking trips in Greenland. Renee Dufresne will discuss the logistics of getting to Greenland, Sharon Bustamante the people and culture of Greenland, and Tim Gallaway will present on participating as an International Competitor at the National Championships.
Paddle Building Workshop
Don Beale is the proprietor of Beale Paddles, and has built well over 700 paddles. Don is renown for his ability to take students through the entire process of building a Greenland Paddle in just a day and a half, regardless of their skill level and previous woodworking experience. This workshop carries an additional fee and arrival on Thursday. Space is limited, so be sure to register along with your camp registration.
The 90-Minute Build
Ever wanted to build a qajaq without all the commitment? Do you like to laugh? How about burning all of your mistakes in an epic Bonfire? Well we have the perfect event for you! This year at TC we will have three teams ‘competing’ in a qajaq build and race. Your team will have 90 minutes to build a qajaq out of long strips of wood, duct tape, and one or two additional tools. Once complete, we will ‘cling wrap’ all of the qajaqs to be raced the next morning then burn them in the bonfire that night. We feared that this event might push us overboard with our already high levels of fun and laughter, but we are going to give it a go! Like our Facebook page for updates on our spunky captains and race plans as the event approaches.
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