Want to become a Steers ? Below is the current protocol for Steers and Steers In-Training. You will receive a reference and information booklet with this information in it. You will also be working with a Steers Mentor.
The Everything You Need to Know
STEERS RESOURCE BOOKLET Last updated 3/10/2023
Support Steers and Approved Steers: Definitions, Criteria and Responsibilities
HROCC steers have an important role providing a reasonably safe experience and good judgment during a club event, while also working to meet the objective of the event and promote an environment that is fun and builds o’hana, a close, respectful, supportive family of friends.
An Approved Steer leads groups of 1 or more boats as the primary person in charge, ensure the safety rules are followed for the members and equipment, and support the club and board as senior members of HROCC.
An Approved Steer is senior in knowledge, skill and experience. They must be a person that has demonstrated responsibility, leadership, solid judgment and the ability to command multiple boats thru the course of a paddling event. Additionally, an Approved Steer is expected to provide additional leadership within the club as requested by the board.
Lead paddle groups in a safe and equitable manner for all members of the club. Organize attendance, seat assignments, safe dress, and transport of canoes. Have an organized plan for the day ready when members arrive. Ensure all equipment is present, clean, stowed correctly and ready for the next user. Provide training and instruction to attending paddlers during their paddle group sessions. Lead paddlers in the “art” of O’hana by example and extolling the objectives of the HROCC mission as defined in the By-Laws.
A Support Steer provides steering for a boat as directed by the Approved Steers and/ or coaches during an HROCC group paddle and club events. While an Approved Steer is in command of the multi-boat event the Support Steer is in command of their individual boat and follows the plan and direction of the Approved Steer. A Support Steer may substitute for and Approved Steer during club events when specifically requested by an Approved Steers, coach or the board and possibly under specified restrictions on course, conditions, crew, equipment, etc.
A Support Steer is a HROCC member nominated by an Approved Steer and approved by the board to have the personality, responsibility, temperament and growing knowledge and skills to provide regular steering support for HROCC events. They need to have several hours of prior steering experience under supervision of an Approved Steer, reasonable skill and knowledge of canoe management, and commit to regularly steer during HROCC paddle group workouts as needed. A Support Steer is expected to own a steering blade and comes to practice prepared to steer.
Be an active and supportive member of the steers community, provide steers support to club events, learn the hazards in the waters where you paddle, do your best to provide a reasonably safe experience, communicate risks and modify the plan to avoid hazardous situations. When substituting for an Approved Steer (leading a group without an Approved Steer present), the Support Steer must stay inside the Nichol’s Basin unless the board approves otherwise.
The Self Paced Checklist
Understanding and mastering the skills in this checklist is an important part of being a Support or Approved Steer.
① - This is a skill that is learned and refined after being designated the steers level. It is understood that it takes time to build the skill and the steers designation gives the person more opportunities “on job training” needed to become proficient.
If interested in regularly steering, ask one or more Approved Steers to be an assigned mentor. Seek opportunities to steer multiple times to gain experience and confidence. Use the checklist as a list of skills to learn. Log your steers sessions using the electronic link provided below. This info will be used to help with decision making.
The Steers Ladder
Moving Up the Steers Ladder: Becoming a Support or Approved Steer...
Moving Down the Ladder…
Once either process described above is complete, the Lead Approved Steer (e.g. Suzi in 2023) contacts a board member, and requests board approval to have the candidate status changed. Board will exercise authority to make a final decision via a formal motion made and voted on at the BOD level. The final decision to become a Support or Approved Steer (or revoke) is ultimately the decision of the board in order to separate that responsibility from the steers community and peers.
Role: If Steers in Training have an approved steer in the boat, it is like having a driving instructor in a car. Following the directive (whether you agree with it or not) is your role as a steer in training. Directives mostly pertain to route and proximity to other boats. If a steer in training doesn’t understand or agree with a directive (e.g. they think it is overly cautious, or not the right line on a wave or whatever) they are welcome to generate a discussion afterwards, but in the moment, their role is to do your best to follow the directive.
Assistance: is the prerogative of an Approved Steer in Seat 5 to aid on a given paddle stroke (i.e. draw or poke) if they think it is necessary/ warranted in for example if they think the boat is in a precarious situation.
Trust: It is earned and it takes a long time. And it can be low among padders in your boat when you are in training. Thus, taking risky lines with objects, getting super close to other boats, etc. is not appropriate—if for no other reason than it is not a good way to progress on trust among other paddlers.
Chain of Command: Important to follow instructions of person running practice. Not doing so has a large, negative domino/ ripple effect on the club.
Risk Taking: Always err on the side of conservative—be overly cautious and preventative of every possible risk scenario. This is the best way to keep people safe. There is no reason to take silly risks.
Proximity: Keep the boats close enough that people are within earshot and eye contact of one another. There are numerous ways to keep boats close- route, steer paddles less, do a loop, call “paddles up,” etc. On the flip side, a pinched boat with a steer sandwiched calling “paddles up” is too close to another boat; keep a respectful distance and be mindful of people’s comfort levels.
Situational Awareness: Head on a swivel- steers need to communicate across boats a lot—eye contact, ear shot, watch for hand motions from the lead steer. Learn to look back, and side to side a lot, pay attention, and respond. Blinders “my boat only” mentality makes practices unnecessarily difficult and stressful for whomever is running practice.
Paddler Management: It is important that the steers be aware when paddlers are outside their comfort zone.. If paddlers become rattled, the first clue is usually auditory; people bark commands or express concerns. Paddlers’ concentration becomes divided and timing goes off. Sometimes, fearing a huil, paddlers will lean/ stay left. A good leader responds to rattled paddlers by altering course, verbal outreach and encouragement. Paddlers want to feel that they are in good hands, especially in adverse conditions. It is OK to apologize for making paddlers feel unsafe even if, in your estimation, the boat was well within safety margins.
At HROCC, steers have an important role in providing a safe experience and good judgment during a club event, while also working to meet the objective of the event and promote an environment that is fun and builds o’hana, a close, respectful, supportive family of friends.
HROCC is a self-directed program for those interested in learning to steer.
For more specific information on this program, email firstname.lastname@example.org