5 Time National Champions ('12, '13, '14, '15, '16), this is a terrific organization focused on mentoring children while getting them involved in and excelling at the sport of sprint canoe and kayak. The team (GHCKRT) consists of approximately 50 athletes that compete all around the US and world representing Gig Harbor and Team USA. Led by Alan Anderson, a long-time Gig Harbor resident and community supporter, GHCKRT provides an exceptional atmosphere for 10-18 year olds to participate in this unique sport.
My child, now 16, began nearly 5 years ago by participating in one of the summer camps the team runs from Skansie Park. As a parent, I was incredibly impressed by 3 specific things this team has: Great Coaching - Alan & his coaching team (many of whom are former or current athletes from the team) foster a positive, supportive and fun learning environment, where kids are willing to jump into the frigid waters of the Puget Sound and tryout this new and difficult sport. Another surprise and this is really cool, the older athletes intentionally mentor the younger athletes with sincerity and kindness - this was truly unique to any other sport my children had participated in up to that point. Younger kids looking up to the older kids, and those older kids being real role models - that was something special to witness. And finally, the parents, all highly involved and supportive of the team and going out of their way to include the summer camp participants and their parents (me), making us feel welcomed and included. I recognized that combination to be a unique trifecta I hadn't found in other sports common for kids this age. Fortunately my son loved it and stayed with it beyond that first summer.
It's a great organization that gives back to the community as well. GHCKRT is the organizer for the annual Paddlers' Cup, the athletes participate in quarterly "beach clean ups", and they run those summer camps mentioned earlier. We've been involved for years now and it's really been a terrific organization.