Wow. I just received notice that I have been made one of the four Patrons of Paddle Canada. I'm extremely honoured because the other three on the list are David Suzuki and Becky and Paul Mason (daughter and son of the reknowned paddler and film maker, Bill Mason, as well as artists and paddlers in their own right). Holy crap! How did I make it on that list. My mother must have put a good word in for me.
I remember it was a few months back when they called me up and asked me to put my name in the hat. And since I've always volunteered to help out the organization since the mid-1980s, I didn't hesitate. Besides, they've done a lot of good across Canada to promote paddling. It just blew me away to see my smiley face besides people like David Suzuki and Becky and Paul Mason. Seriously, it's an honour.
Here's a little bit of info on Paddle Canada
The organization was conceived back in 1971, calling themselves the Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association at the time. It was derived from the need of recreational paddling enthusiasts from across Canada to co-ordinate the efforts of non-competitive canoeing and kayaking.
From the very start, one of the long term goals of the association was the development of standard skill sets for safe and enjoyable recreational canoeing and kayaking; standards that could be portable and recognized anywhere in our vast and beautiful country. Under the leadership and expertise of its Board of Directors Paddle Canada worked diligently, in cooperation with its Regional Member Associations, instructors from across the country, its members and the paddling public to achieve this goal.
By examining many avenues including existing programs, current trends and growth trends, Paddle Canada's first success was the creation of a national program for Canoeing. National standards for Sea and River Kayaking would also follow as those activities grew in popularity among recreational paddlers.
Today, Paddle Canada's national paddling programs have proven themselves to be the ideal mechanism to extend and deliver our mandates of environmental awareness and protection as well as the preservation of the canoe and kayak as a part of our national heritage. More Canadians are, and continue to be, exposed to Paddle Canada's message through our instructional programs than ever before.
Paddle Canada currently represents over 1,500 Individual Members, 8 Regional Member Associations and 2 Affiliate Member Associations. Through each of our members and programs we are able to successfully and consistently deliver the message of safe and enjoyable paddling to more than 50,000 paddlers annually.
As Paddle Canada moves to the future, we have no doubt that there will be challenges. Our waterways and wilderness areas are under ever-increasing threats of being lost forever, and with it a piece of our paddling heritage.
Thanks to the support and efforts of its members, however, Paddle Canada is well positioned to take on these challenges and we continue to look towards a brighter future for ourselves and for future generations...