KayakLanCo’s first season a success amid pandemic interest in the outdoors [column] | Outside
Public use of the outdoors in Lancaster County has never been more in demand and now there is another option for exploring its waterways.
Lancaster town woman Terilyn LeDuc completed her first season with KayakLanCo, which offers self-guided kayak tours on the Susquehanna River, Conestoga River and Speedwell Forge Lake.
For LeDuc, that so many trips were filled with beginners was gratifying as it was part of the inspiration for his business model. With COVID-19, she wondered how many people in the community were interested in trying kayaking but didn’t know where to start.
So booking a kayaking adventure with KayakLanCo isn’t just about renting equipment and providing a shuttle service. You receive a link to an instructional video on the basics of kayaking and a full tutorial at the water’s edge before you get started on your own. Yes, you will probably end up tipping, she tells them, but that’s okay.
“Some are asking about seat belts,” said LeDuc, who has lived in the town of Lancaster for 12 years with her husband, Reverend Luke LeDuc, and four children, aged 4 to 19. “Some don’t understand how a paddle works.” Parents are naturally nervous about children. (She has six smaller single kayaks for the kids and an optional tow rope.) Some people need reassurance before they float on the water.
Stay-at-home mom with a slew of part-time accounting and administration jobs, found herself restless when COVID-19 hit and had to divide her time between work and looking after the kids at home.
She questioned the possibility of starting her own business, a business that would be seasonal, would be outside, would be a necessary service to her community and would be an example of entrepreneurship for her children. A kayak service occurred to me.
She was not a kayaker but had spent much of her childhood canoeing and on the water.
LeDuc invested in 11 premium kayaks, sit-ins, singles and other gear because she wanted her first kayaking experience to be positive and not spoiled by substandard gear or wet clothes.
She adapts trips to the skill level of clients. Beginner or novice kayakers often paddled around the calm waters of Speedwell Forge Lake near Lititz. More experienced paddlers can choose the Conestoga River or five choices on the Susquehanna: Conejohela Flats, Vinegar Ferry Watertrail, Columbia Bridges, Chickies Rock Watertrail, and the boulder-strewn Conowingo Islands.
One of the greatest pleasures of his fledgling business was the customers paddling back to shore with a smile on their face. âI think the peace they feel is great, but I also think part of it is, ‘Oh, I conquered that. I did this. I am a kayaker. ‘
âI love him when they love him. I could have people coming out of the water and you can just tell that they experienced something new and felt alive there. It’s so much fun providing that to people. It gives me such joy.
With 165 trips booked in her first season, she picked up clients ranging in age from 3 to 81 years old. She took groups of up to a dozen, but more are smaller.
Having ticked off a desire to meet a need for his community, LeDuc would like to expand outreach efforts to involve more youth from minorities and disadvantaged neighborhoods. She has provided free kayaks to a Philadelphia-area program that works to reconnect minorities and people of color to nature, and she hopes to launch free kayak tours for the city’s youth next year. from Lancaster.
She didn’t know it before, but now she’s happy to learn that kayaking is something people of all ages can enjoy together.
âKayaking is an outdoor activity that spans generations so well,â she notes. âAdolescents and their parents. Moms and their sons. Dads and their preschoolers. Grandparents and their pre-teens. Three generations at a time. It’s so much fun to see and experience this aspect.
KayakLanCo’s second season will start in May and end in October. The trips cost $ 50 for adults, $ 40 for children, and free for the youngest who can ride with their parents. Gift cards are available. For more information, visit kayaklanco.com, email [email protected] or call 717-945-8947.
Ad Crable is an outside LNP writer.