From: Gillson Beach or Skokie Lagoons
Price:$ 495
Duration: 10am - 3pm

Or book a Custom Trip

10am - 3pm
Skill Rating:
Van Supported:
Gillson Beach or Skokie Lagoons
$ 495
Minimum Age 9
Included: All sea kayak equipment, instruction and supervision.
Not Included: Transportation or personal clothing, equipment, and lunch. Cancellation policy applies.

Introduce your water loving paddlers to the skills, techniques and leadership required to enjoy the excitement of kayaking and SUP. This course will provide campers with the basic skills to tour on our local waterways. Throughout the week your aspiring adventurer will grow to love the magic a paddle through the water can bring! Ages 9 to 14 welcome.


We will meet our campers at the Gillson Park (directions included) kayak launch at 10:00 a.m. each morning unless stated otherwise. Please be sure to arrive on time so that we can get started on our full day of exciting activities! Click here for directions. 

Once everyone has arrived, we’ll start with group games that energize and preapre us for the day. We’ll spend  time on land as we learn about the essential gear and safety guidelines of kayaking and SUP. Once everyone is comfortable with the equipment and safety guidelines, we’ll get on the water!

Throughout the day we’ll apply what we’ve learned on land in the water! We’ll play games that incorporate paddle strokes, rescues, weather reading, swimming, map reading skills, and other essentials of the two paddle sports (kayaking and SUP). To make sure that each camper is getting the most out of his/her Water Week experience, our skilled staff will provide the best learning environment possible.

Our campers will be prepared to be picked up at 3:00 p.m. each afternoon. You will be notified if the time or place of pick-up/drop-off is changed.

Monday Meet Gillson Park Kayak Launch
10:00am Meet Time
Confirm paper work/Answer any Parent Questions
Provide Schedule for week
10:30 Introduction/Games/Daily Morning Activity
11:00 Kayak Safety Talk/Outfitting/Paddling
12:00 LUNCH
1:00 Paddling Games

Tuesday Meet Gillson Park Kayak Launch
10:00 Games/Daily Morning Activity
10:30 Kayak Safety Talk/Outfitting/Paddling
12:00 LUNCH
1:00 Paddling Games

Wednesday Meet Gillson Park Kayak Launch
10:00 Games/Daily Morning Activity
10:30 Put-in North Branch Chicago River
12:00 LUNCH
1:00 Commute to Centennial Park, Wilmette
1:30 Water Park (Centennial Park, Wilmette)
3:00 PICK- UP at Gillson Park

10:00 Games/Daily Morning Activity
10:30 Safety Talk/Outfitting/Paddling/Orientation to Lagoons
12:00 LUNCH
1:00 Kayak the Lagoons
3:00 PICK-UP Skokie Lagoons

Friday Meet at Gillson Park Kayak Launch
10:00 Games/Daily Morning Activity
10:30 Kayak Safety Talk/Outfitting/Paddling
12:00 LUNCH
1:00 Kayak the lake front
3:00 PICK-UP at Gillson Park

** Itinerary subject to change.

Clothing & Equipment:

Day Pack containing . . .

  • 1 Liter Water Bottle (full)
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Change of Dry Clothes
  • Sunscreen Lotion
  • Sunglasses with retaining strap (optional)

When planning for your camp you will need to wear clothes which can get wet, a towel, hat and/or sunglasses, raingear and shoes that can get wet. Flip-flop sandals are not as useful as they will come off in open water. Sport sandals (Tevas, Chacos etc) or an old pair of tennis shoes works well. All participants must wear shoes for the entirety of the program.

In cool weather, a nylon jacket, pants, and synthetic long underwear can all be helpful. Cotton is to be avoided since once wet, it stays very wet and makes you feel colder. Synthetic materials (polypropylene, fleece, etc.) will keep you warm even when they are wet. Come prepared for warm, cold and/or wet weather; we will be paddling rain or shine! If you wear glasses, be sure to have something with you to tie them on, such as Croakies. Some people also like to bring a change of dry clothes for the ride home. In addition please bring any food goodies that you may want to munch on as well as water or juice.

If you have any questions please call our office ahead of time at (847) 256-4409. We look forward to paddling with you!!!

Trips ran or rain or shine! In the event of inclement weather alternative on-land activities will be substituted. 
There are no make-ups for missed days.   


How do I get there?
We begin each day out of Gillson Beach in Wilmette or the Skokie Lagoons in Winnetka.Click here for directions. 

What's the weather like? What happens in bad weather?
Plan for Chicago summer air temperatures and water temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees. Camp runs rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather or hazardous lake conditions alternative on-land activities will be substituted. In the event of severe weather the Wilmette Park District Lakeview center acts as our shelter. Click here for the Wilmette Park District weather station. 

What do I need to bring?
We will send you a detailed gear list upon registration. Please browse our equipment list on the Planning tab. 

How can people reach me in an emergency?
The instructors will be carrying cell phones and marine radios along with each campers contact information.

What kind of equipment do you use?
We use rotomolded single and double plastic sea kayaks and fiberglass and plastic stand-up paddle boards.  Some of the keys to campers enjoyment and skill development is specifically sized equipment. Our kid specific fleet of kayaks, SUP boards, paddles and lifejackets makes for a safe and manageable learning environment. Campers wear lifejackets at all times during camp.  

How many campers are in the camp? How many instructors? 
Camp enrollment is limited to 15. Depending on enrollment there will be 2 to 4 instructors with a maximum ratio of 5 campers to 1 instructor. Our instructors are certified in Wilderness First Aid, CPR and Life Guarding. Our lead staff are BCU or ACA certified kayak and SUP instructors.

Do campers need prior experience?
No prior experience or conditioning is necessary for this camp.

Do campers need to know how to swim?
Yes, all campers are expected to demonstrate their swimming ability. Campers wear lifejackets at all times during camp.  

What if we miss a class?
There are no make-ups nor do we pro-rate for missed days. Thank you for your understanding and please be familiar with our cancellation policy prior to registration. Click here for our cancellation policy.