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Mission Statement: SherriKayaks Outdoor Programs exists to promote participation in human-powered outdoor leisure activities, primarily kayaking, canoeing, and standup paddle-board (SUP).  We offer safe, enjoyable, expert instruction in paddle sports skills for people of all ages and abilities in a manner that reflects a respectful and caring attitude toward the natural environment.  We work to help people re-establish a connection with the outdoors by teaching skills that allow them to feel safer and more comfortable when recreating on the water.

Sherri Mertz, owner and lead instructor for SherriKayaks, is a sea kayaker, whitewater kayaker, canoeist, and stand-up paddler (SUP) with over 25 years of paddling experience.  She has been a kayak instructor since 1998 first certified by the British Canoe Union (BCU) and currently by the American Canoe Association (ACA).

  • BCU 4-Star Sea Kayaker, 1997
  • BCU Coach 2 Sea Kayak, 1998 – 2003
  • ACA Level 4: Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor, 1999 – present
  • ACA Rolling Instructor Endorsement, 2001
  • ACA Level 2: Essentials of Touring Canoe Instructor, 2003 – present
  • ACA Level 1: Solo Canoe Instructor, 2014
  • ACA Adaptive Paddling Endorsement, 2006 – present
  • ACA Level 3: River Kayak Instructor, 2008 – present
  • Wilderness Medical Associates First Responder, 2005 – present
  • ACA Level 1: SUP Instructor, 2014 – present

Sherri has a degree in physical education and has worked as a teacher, environmental educator, camp counselor, program director, camp director, and kayak instructor/guide. In 2000, she took a job as the camping and paddlesports department manager at Laacke & Joys, an outdoor store located on the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee, WI.  She started the Adventure Education Program for the store and ran it for the next eight years before leaving to start SherriKayaks Outdoor Programs in spring 2009.

An avid traveler, Sherri has paddled in 17 different states including Hawaii and Alaska, and in Canada and The Bahamas.  She tries to kayak year-round on Lake Michigan (in years when it doesn’t freeze over) although she also enjoys taking trips down south in winter to paddle where it’s warm.



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