Waterfront Program

Learn to fish, row, canoe, and kayak at the Lafayette Reservoir.

All campers participate in waterfront activities taught by our lifeguard-certified waterfront staff. Activities are tailored for all ages and abilities to make this a safe and fun area of camp. Campers develop their skills through instruction, practice, and adventures along the Reservoir. Waterfront activities include canoeing (2nd grade & up), fishing (all ages), rowing (K-4th grade), and kayaking (5th grade & up). Learn more these activities and skill development below.


Campers 2nd through 10th grade learn the basics of flat water canoeing. Strokes are practiced on the dock and all campers must pass the tip-a-canoe safety challenge on land before going out in the water. Places too far to reach by rowboat are open for exploration by canoe, including small hidden coves of the reservoir that require dedicated teamwork and skill to reach.

Program Overview: This is a canoeing skill progression program based on campers age, abilities, and experience at RI. Campers learn to canoe in Levels 1 – 3 in Capt’n Rough’s Cove. Levels 4 -6 progress to other parts of the lake. Levels 4, 5 and 6 are designed for older campers and all team challenges are designed to be completed with your group.

Intro to Canoeing & Safety Orientation

  • Wears Personal Flotation Device (PDF) Properly
  • Understands canoeing rules & safety
  • Passes the Tip-A-Canoe Challenge
  • Identify the parts of a canoe and paddle
  • Loading and unloading of boats
  • Can hold paddle correct
  • Can do the Forward Stroke
  • Paddle out and canoe in Capt’n Rough’s cove with team & counselor for a short time.

Learns all Canoe basic strokes & completes team challenges with group.

  • Attains Level 1 – Canoe Intro & Safety Orientation
  • Can do all basic canoeing strokes:
    – Forward Stroke
    – Backward Stroke
    – Docking Strokes: Draw & Pry Strokes
  • Demonstrates basics of steering a canoe

Discoverer Team Challenges:

  • Beach Team Trip: Paddles to the Beach & back to the dock (with team & counselor) in Capt’n Rough’s Cove
  • Discoverer Obstacle Course Team Challenge: Completes “Discover” Obstacle course of at least 3 obstacles (with team & counselor) in Capt’n Rough’s Cove

Stroke Development, teamwork & endurance building team challenges.


  • Completes Level 2 skills & team challenges
  • Can maneuver using the “C” sweep stroke
  • Can paddle a canoe in a straight line with team and counselor
  • Learned basics of “stern” position: steering & leadership
  • Can steer using ruddering technique to steer canoe with assistance.
  • Has paddled in all 3 positions in canoe (bow, middle and stern)
  • Can navigate and react to wind in a canoe
  • Has endurance to paddle for 20 minutes (with team & counselor) in the challenge below.

Explorer Team Challenges:

  • Explorer Obstacle Course Team Challenge: Navigate a 3-point obstacle course or canoe games with obstacles (with team & counselor)
  • Princess Row A Boata’s Team Adventure: Paddle to Princess Row-a-boat’s tower and back (with team & counselor) to dock in Capt’n Rough’s Cove
  • Capt’n Rough’s Cove Challenge: Paddle the circumstance of Capt’ n Rough’s Paddle Cove (with team & counselor)

Campers learn how to steer/naviage canoe, lead boat and team on extended canoe challenges.


  • Completed Explorer Level 3 & Challenges
  • Can steer canoe independently, keeping on course using rudder technique.
  • Learns & demonstrates the “J” stroke
  • Demonstrates “stern” position leadership: Steer & Direct canoe with fellow campers from stern
  • Has endurance to paddle for 40 minutes & completes canoe challenges

Voyager I Team Challenges:

  • Cross The Reservoir Team Challenge: Paddle to L Dock and back with team & counselor

Voyager I Camper Leadership Challenges:

  • Voyager I – Beach Trip Leader Challenge: Navigates / steers canoe with team from stern to the beach & back
  • Voyager I – Obstacle Course Leader Challenge: Navigates / steers  a 3-point obstacle course or canoe game with obstacles
  • Capt’n Rough Cove Leader Challenge: Paddle the circumference of Capt’n Rough” Cove team
  • Tower Trip Leader Challenge: Paddle with Team to Princess Row A-Boata’s Tower and back to dock

Canoes independently with team in canoe (without counselor) and masters advanced paddling skills..

Prerequisites for Level 5: Campers 5th grade and up


  • Can successfully use the “J” stroke
  • Ability to use J-Stroke to guide canoe on course from the stern position
  • Ability to use J-Stroke to guide canoe on a set course from the stern position to/from dock 5 & in canoe games
  • Can paddle a canoe with team in a straight line without a counselor
  • Can canoe independently with team around Capt’n Ruff’s Cove

Voyager II:  Team Challenges: for the Advanced Canoeist  (done independently with team)

  • Voyager II – Obstacle Course Team Challenge: Navigates / steers with Team a 3-point  obstacle course or canoe game with obstacles, *must paddle in all positions.
  • Voyager II – Beach Team Challenge: canoes independently with team to the beach & back
  • Capt’n Rough Cove Expedition Team Challenge (Voyager II): Paddle the circumference of Capt’n Rough” Cove team (with team independently) 
  • Tower Expedition Team Challenge: Paddle with Team to Princess Row A-Boata’s Tower and back to dock  (independently with team)
  • Voyage Cross The Reservoir Team Challenge: Paddle to L Dock and back with team independently

Voyager II Canoe Leader Challenge

*Pre-req: Camper completed all Level 4 Canoe skills & team challenges in positions in stern (can successfully lead / steers their canoe & team)

  • Beach Leader Challenge – Voyager II:  Leads team canoeing independently to the beach & back, (steers from stern, team of 2-3 campers independently).
  • Capt’n Rough’s Leader Challenge – Voyager II:  Paddles the circumference of Captain Rough’s Cove with 2- 3 campers. (Leads and steers canoe from stern position)
  • Tower Expedition Leader Challenge: Paddle with Team to Princess Row A-Boata’s Tower and back to dock  (independently with team)
  • Cross the Reservoir Leader Challenge: Canoes across the reservoir, to the L-Dock with team & Leads /steers from stern. (starts from dock 4 in Capt’n Ruff’s cove)

**For Team Challenges Level 5 & 6: Campers 5th grade & older – Canoeing challenges are performed in team of skilled campers independently (without a staff member in the canoe)

Team completes advanced canoe challenges together (without counselor) on longer trips around reservoir.

*Campers rotate positions in boat during each challenge with each camper taking a turn to lead the boat from the stern position and paddle in all 3 positions.

Prerequisites for Level 6:

*Campers 5th grade and up)
*Completes Voyager II Team & Leader challenges
*Can canoe independently as team in canoe (without counselor)
*Can lead team on extended canoe challenges from the stern (without counselor)

  • West Cove Journey Team Challenge: Complete the circumference of West Cove and back to L -Dock with team of campers independently (w/out counselor)
  • Reservoir Explorer Team Challenge: Complete the circumference of the whole reservoir with team of campers
  • Pathfinder – Canoe Leader Challenge: Leads canoe – paddles from stern in all Voyager III challenges


  • Campers must master skills in each level and complete all team challenges to move to next level.
  • Levels 1-4 Campers complete all skills and challenges as team with counselor in canoe.
  • Levels 5-6 : Prerequisite – Only for campers 5th grade and above.
  • Campers must master all Level 4 skill and challenges to work towards levels 5 and 6 team challenges.
  • Camper must master all Level 4 skills to be able to canoe independently in a team in canoe (without counselor).


Fishing is enjoyed by all campers, from PreK to 10th grade. Blue gill, trout, and bass are common catches down at the dock. After learning the safety rules of the dock, our fishing counselor teaches campers a variety of casting skills, with ample practice time.

There are many tales to be told while fishing at the dock. One of the most popular is the legend of Big Fred, the largest fish in the reservoir, with campers hoping to catch a glimpse of him.



  • Has knowledge of dock rules and safety
  • Has knowledge of fishing first aid
  • Can bait own hook
  • Uses fish voice
  • Can work a spincasting reel
  • Has knowledge of different kinds of bait and tackle
  • Has knowledge of different kinds of fish in the Reservoir
  • Knows casting calls safely
  • Drop Cast Ability
  • Can cast a spin casting reel
  • Can attach a weight to fishing line
  • Identify fishing “hot spots”
  • Can de-bait a hook
  • Has knowledge of catch-and-release principles

New Angler Award – for campers that complete all fishing skills, plus earn casting license and their Fish Identification card.

Campers 2nd grade and above can be awarded an “Official Casting License” from the Fishing Counselor & Waterfront Staff! If they show their casting skills and knowledge of fishing/casting rules.

Requirements to obtain a Casting License:

  1. Knows casting rules and safety procedures.
  2. Makes sure area is clear behind them.
  3. Calls out “Casting, Casting 1-2-3” to alert people they are casting.
  4. Has cast 3 times in a row successfully.
The Fishing Counselor has Fish ID Cards which describe each type of fish found in the Lafayette Reservoir. Campers work to identify and catch all of them while at camp!


Campers PreK to 4th grade learn to row at Capt’n Rough’s protected cove out on the reservoir. Safety is the highest priority, and campers learn the boating rules, how to put on their life jacket (PFD), and how to board the boat properly. Every boat has a counselor on board, and it is safe for non-swimmers. All rowing activities are taught by our waterfront staff who are lifeguard certified. Campers will learn that Teamwork is essential as campers take trips around the cove and row out to Princess Row-a-boata’s tower.

Summer2018-0960 (Large)


  • Knowledge of safety skills
    – Fits PDF properly
    – Knows dock safety rules
    – Loads and unloads boats safely
  • Can put on Personal Flotation Device
  • Knowledge of boating terms
  • Knowledge of basic boat parts
  • Moves in boat safely
  • Rows with help of counselor
  • Rows with help of partner
  • Row one oar
  • Can guide boat in a straight line
  • Synchronization of strokes
  • Understands and executes right and left turns
  • Able to stop moving boat by holding water
  • Effective coxswain
  • Expresses leadership and helps other campers


Campers 5th to 10th grade participate in tandem kayaking and explore new areas of the west side of the lake. Campers learn basic kayaking skills, maneuvering techniques, and the importance of teamwork to travel in straight lines, turn, and dock the boats. As they progress in skills, the waterfront staff teach new challenges and games to perfect skills while having fun!


  • Knowledge of kayaking safety
  • Understands kayaking rescues
  • Knowledge of kayaking vocabulary
  • Knowledge of parts of kayak & paddle
  • Loads & unloads kayaks properly & safely
  • Paddle in tandem with a partner
  • Demonstrates leadership
  • Can paddle in a straight line
  • Learns how to launch & portage kayaks
  • Knowledge of strokes
  • Sits correctly in kayak
  • Forward stroke
  • Backward stroke
  • Draw stroke
  • Sweep stroke or “C” stroke
  • Steers using rudder action
  • Participates in group challenges
  • Participates in excursions around the Reservoir
  • Can successfully navigate around a buoy