Presentation by Dana Starkell to McGowan Park Elementary Students and Adventure Tourism 12 Students from Sa-Hali Secondary School
Sa-Hali Secondary Students in the Adventure Tourism 12 class were given the opportunity to experience the story of Dana Arkell, who completed a 2-year odyssey paddling a canoe over 19,000 kilometers from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil.
A year after completing high school, Dana undertook the now famous two-year canoe trip his father had been planing since Dana was 9 years old. Altogether, they paddled through 13 countries from Winnipeg to Belem, Brazil and awarded the Guinness world record for the longest canoe trip in history. In the course of the journey Dana cured his asthma and honed his skills as a classical guitarist.
Dana shared numerous stories with the students that showed interactions with the locals as they paddled through the mighty Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, along the Caribbean Coastline of Mexico and Central American countries, eventually reaching South America and finally into the Amazon River drainage. Students interacted with Dana during a question and answer session, followed by his slide-show that showcased much of the journey.
The opportunity to learn alongside the younger Elementary students benefited both groups of students as the soon-to-be graduates could put themselves in the shoes of the younger students, thinking, what it would be like to have had this offer of paddling to the mouth of the Amazon presented to them at the age of 9 years old. It also showed a life of living simply, overcoming obstacles, and challenges, including, curing his childhood asthma…the daily paddling acting as the antidote that ended his need for medication! The students were left with inspiration and motivation to realize their potential and to seek the “unknown” and to learn along the journey.
On behalf of the students, I wish to thank Cori Wickes, Principal of McGowan Park Elementary for extending this invitation for Sa-Hali students to participate in the Dana’s presentation. ( written by P. Findlay)