Celebrating 50 Years in Business, Madawaska Kanu Centre Launches Student Essay Contest

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Known globally for its unique approach to canoe and kayak instruction, modeled after a European ski school concept, and its incredible riverside setting in Ontario, Canada, the Madawaska Kanu Centre (MKC) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2021.

To mark the occasion, MKC is launching an essay contest — and the winner will get a free weekend getaway at MKC with all meals, accommodation and paddling instruction included (a value of $600).

To enter, contestants will be asked to write a short essay on the topic: “What can you learn by paddling a river?”

The contest will run until September 2021, and a winner will be selected in November. The essay will be published in MKC’s Anniversary cookbook that celebrates the paddling school’s confluence of incredible food and river experiences.

The contest winner will join the ranks of more than 50,000 students who have learned the joys and thrills of whitewater paddling at MKC, nestled alongside the Madawaska River in Eastern Ontario. In addition to the essay contest, MKC is planning to host (subject to pandemic restrictions) a gathering on Labor Day weekend to celebrate its half-century anniversary. The Anniversary Recipe Book will be published in the Spring of 2022, filled with recipes and the many memories 50 years on the river has generated.

Students as old as 86 and as young as 2 have ventured onto the rapids with MKC instructors, many of them world class competitors eager to share their love and passion with novices. Over the years, MKC has launched the careers of many top tier paddlers. Dana Chladek worked one summer at MKC when she was a teenager before going on to win multiple Olympic and World Championship medals.

Founded in 1971 by Christa and Hermann Kerckhoff, MKC’s mission was to create a safe, fun learning environment where beginners could learn the basics and expert paddlers could refine their skills. The common thread was to instill in everyone a love for the outdoors and the wonders of whitewater paddling.

MKC also pioneered a landmark agreement with the hydro-electric authority that operates a dam on the Madawaska River, guaranteeing water releases on weekdays so paddlers have consistent flows to play in.

MKC has been a family affair since the day it opened. Christa and Hermann’s oldest daughter Claudia took over operations in 1982, along with her husband Dirk Van Wijk. And, just recently, a third generation, Claudia and Dirk’s youngest daughter Stefani, assumed responsibility of the Centre.

She is eager to build on the solid foundation laid by MKC’s 50 years of introducing students to the thrills and joys of whitewater paddling. “This river has been gathering paddlers for decades, I’m grateful to call it both my home and my career.”

For contest details, and to learn more about MKC and what it offers to both the novice and expert paddler, visit https://www.mkc.ca.

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