Newcomers learn about Canada by paddling N.B. rivers
There's a lot to learn if you're new to Canada, but there's also a lot to enjoy.
Some young newcomers were given an opportunity Wednesday to enjoy some of the best of the great outdoors here in the Maritimes.
A group of New Brunswick teens took part in Kayaking 101, a program for new arrivals to the Maritimes.
The program teaches them how to properly suit up with safety gear for a kayaking expedition.
"We make sure that they know about all the basic features of a kayak and at least some basic paddling skills and how to get out of a kayak if in fact it does turn over, which is highly unlikely," said guide Walter Emrich.
These young people are not only new to kayaking, they're new to Canada.
Paddling a river may be one of the great Canadian pastimes.
Not so much in Syria.
"It's good because we'll go in the water and do new experiences," said Nissrine Maatouk. "And some people haven't done it before and they'll have fun with their friends and learn new things about nature."
All of the teens have come ready to enjoy the outdoors, and more.
"I'm so excited to learn more about New Brunswick and Canada," said Yousef Alajea.
The expedition heads out into a natural area west of Saint John that will always be free of development.
The Musquash estuary is the pride of several conservation groups. They say the 5,000 acre preserve is an example to Maritimers and to newcomers alike.
"It's community, the people around it, recognized it's important and wanted to see it protected," said Fundy baykeeper Matt Abbott. "So, it's really great to show for people the fruits of a community's effort to protect an important space."
The outing serves as an introduction, not only to one of the great Canadian pastimes, but also to marine protected areas and nature preserves like Musquash.
"We hope that this will be an experience that they'll cherish and never forget and hopefully inspire future adventures," said Jennifer White of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
That seems to be a safe bet.
"It was really fun and I liked it," said Maatouk.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron.