Outgoing Vice President’s Reflections
By John Parrot
Three years have passed since the start of this club. As we enter the 4th year of the CCofCC, I congratulate Brian Gilbert on his election to the office of Vice President for the club. Joyce, Susan, and Dave will continue as President, Secretary, and Treasurer respectively.
We also add four new Board members to the club: Lynne Heritage, Helena Kotala, Jon Nelson, and Joe Rothrock. And we thank our current board members for continuing in their roles: Ed Bowman, Sarah Edge, and Gary Thornbloom. The ideas, support, and advocacy efforts of our board members are critical to our success and growth.
As the outgoing VP, I want to reflect a bit on our accomplishments as a new club and offer some ideas for the future. At that first meeting that Joyce Furfaro organized, the pent-up demand for a club in the area was obvious. Some 80 people showed up and encouraged Joyce in her goal to usher in a canoe and kayak club in Centre county. From that single meeting, we have formed an active club with representation across a wide range of the paddle sports.
Since that time, a lot of activities have taken place. A lot of them have been behind the scenes. The club is an officially designated nonprofit organization and that does not come without a lot of paperwork and effort. Translation: lawyers and legalese. The club was fortunate enough to have a member who works in the legal profession that donated her time to make this happen in Harrisburg. This is but one example of how members have been generous with their time and talent to launch this club.
The club has a set of bylaws carefully crafted to guide decision-making. The Harrisburg Canoe Club let us use their bylaws as a model. Then after many hours of deliberation and modification, the officers and board completed the bylaws that we will allow us to function as a club in the future.
Most of all, we have had a lot of fun along the way. Movie nights at the park in Bellefonte, splash events at Bald Eagle State Park, Kayaking 101 as well as Canoeing 101 classes for new paddlers and many other events that are far too numerous to mention in this note. The joy of being on the water with fellow paddlers is what this club is about and we have been spectacularly successful in increasing the number of paddling days in our area. So many of us have formed relationships that would not have been possible without this club starting up. It is pure pleasure to check email and see who is going paddling and where.
I am confident there is much more to come for our club. I envision the club meeting monthly, so that we can work toward having a regular role in events such as the Red Moshannon Down River Race at the end of March each year and other activities that require planning and need us to be active throughout the year. As you will see in the story in this newsletter about the selection of the 2012 River of the Year, the local canoe and kayak club played an important role in getting the word out and getting votes for the winning river. That club also has an annual weekend event that sustains interest in membership, and we might begin to think about what our club could do that would be similar but would attract attendees from outside our area as well. I can envision the day that we sponsor an annual river sojourn of our own that goes from Bellefonte to Lockhaven.
It has been a fun ride and I look forward to seeing you on the water in the months and years ahead! As the club continues to grow and mature, we will be called on to advocate for river conservation, paddle sports and other issues important to watershed quality in our area. I look forward to the day when our club is widely recognized in central Pennsylvania as a premier outdoor recreation group.