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Philippa’s summer of volunteering

Posted by: Philippa Cummings Cook, Y12 - 18 October 2023 - Activities & Sports - Read time: 2 minutes

My name is Philippa Cummings Cook, a Year 12 student at MPW London. I volunteer at Wimbledon Park Watersports Centre and over the summer I spent four weeks helping to teach children to kayak, canoe and sail.

At the end of the summer, everybody had to go back to school and instead I started to help teach disabled people to canoe. Over the summer I fell in love with my job, combining two of my favourite things: watersports and children. I made unforgettable memories that I’d like to share, here are my top five best and funniest moments: 

  • Staff Training, when the children went home for the day and we got the chance to have fun with our friends.
  • Seeing one child come out his shell and start busting the moves with a hula hoop during a dance competition at the end of his week. 
  • When I ran the session, and took the first step to becoming a fully qualified instructor. 
  • Seeing a group of 10 year olds throw my colleague into the lake at the end of the week!  
  • Everybody dressing up as dragons, princesses, Batman and witches for Funday Friday! 

Having fallen in love with this job, I’m now on the path to become a level 1 qualified paddlesports instructor. I started by doing a PSRC, paddlesports safety and rescue course, before going on to do an RYA first aid course and a safeguarding course. Next I will finally take the level one paddlesports course itself! But in the meantime I’ll keep paddling regularly, taking CPD courses and working to improve my skills. Hopefully one day I’ll become a dinghy instructor and I’ll be able to teach children to sail in better boats and give them skills for life. So if you’re looking to learn to kayak, canoe, sail or just have fun, come down to Wimbledon. Maybe I’ll see you there!