Review of Penguin Paddling
This summer, in June 2016, we hosted a sleep-away camp for our church group, and contracted Danny Barker and his guides of Penguin Paddling. In a rigorous 12-hour day, they provided kayak instruction to our 150 young women ages 12-18. We broke the girls down by age and allowed each of them to receive 90-120 minutes of guided paddling experience in five different segments.
We originally hired Danny because his rates were so competitive, and his location perfectly situated to our campsite. Since I was budget-driven, and unfamiliar with kayaking myself, I wasn’t aware that I should be looking for more than the price. We lucked out. As I watched Danny instruct and teach our young women, I learned that he is more than a skilled athlete, he is also a talented teacher.
Danny was able to provide an essential summer camp experience we wanted for our young women. If you are looking for an experience that creates the flow of concentration and allows team building as you conquer a challenge together, you will also appreciate hiring Penguin Paddling.
This was our second year employing Danny’s services as part of our five-day overnight camp plan. Our group camped at Prince William Forest Park, and found we were able to easily shuttle our campers to the marina less than 15 minutes away. His location, his preparedness with equipment, and his prompt approach allowed us to effectively use our time. Kayaking was a most requested activity by both youth and leader; everyone offered rave reviews.
Danny is approachable. He is both relaxed and organized. He is easy to work with, but is also mindful of the details. Danny conscientiously responds to emails and phonecalls, making sure the contract is explicit and any questions are answered. Danny is an honest and a fair businessman. I could tell he would be willing to meet our needs and help us in any way he could.
I was impressed with the different techniques he used with the varied age groups; he knew how to anticipate their developmental ages and abilities. With our older, 16-year-old campers, he allowed them freedom and responsibility. They were able to improve their skills and become more proficient. When the youngest, 12-year-old campers came, Danny helped them feel comfortable with the stress and worry they felt about approaching a new challenge. He didn’t push them too hard. They were comfortable because he made it playful and fun, distracting them from their fears and focusing them on the pleasure of the water in the summertime. He didn’t ever allow the girls to be unsafe, but he never made them feel like they were being “disciplined.” He redirected their energy towards the goal of mastery and the rhythm of paddling. He was always respectful and trustworthy in his behavior and clearly employs guides that share his traits.
Danny had tremendous crowd control, and a clear understanding of character. He is the kind of person who is living the dream of running a business based on their deepest passion. It’s obvious that he loves kayaking; being with him makes you enjoy it, too.
Rachel S. Oakton, VA