How I Learned to Love Being in a Hot, Stinking, Crowded Shuttle with 6 of My Paddle Buddies or What exactly do I get for my $20 TVCC dues anyway?

By BG Smith, TVCC Treasurer


At some point in your life you fell in love with paddling.


Maybe it was watching some crazy dude crash through the rapids on a nearby river.


Maybe your Dad took you to a lake for some fishing in a canoe.



Maybe you watched the Olympics and stumbled on the weird world of competitive kayaking and canoeing.  Whatever the inspiration, you said, “I want to do that, it looks like fun!”  So, you found a boat (or two or three), tried it, liked it, and quickly discovered you wanted to do more; you needed to find bigger adventures.

 So you Googled “TVCC.”  


Looks great, but they want $20.  

What’s that all about?


TVCC’s greatest asset is its core dedication to sharing a passion of paddle sports that strives to increase the knowledge, safety, and appreciation of the sport for its members.   The Club does this by offering opportunities to the members to learn and develop new skills, hone and maintain current abilities, and participate in self-paced, organized training programs that will take you from novice to expert and anywhere in between.  

TVCC, as a Paddle America Club, follows the training standards of the American Canoe Association and the TVCC Paddle School is recognized as one of the premier training programs in the Southeast U. S.  Additionally, ACA-certified TVCC instructors offer enhanced opportunities to gain valuable Swift Water Rescue training or brush up on general white water safety through the Rescue Rodeo program.  Numerous TVCC sponsored trips led by knowledgeable Trip Leaders provide a safety-infused environment to test your skills and gain river experience.  

TVCC is lucky to be in a region of the country blessed with an abundant supply of high quality rivers and lakes to satisfy both flatwater and white water paddlers.  But TVCC also sponsors several overnight trips each year to great locations across the U.S. lasting from quick one night stands to a full week.  All trips are led by and all instruction is provided free of charge by unpaid, volunteer, TVCC members.  As you grow within TVCC, learning new skills and experiencing new adventures, you’ll find new friends along the way.  These folks will be there to cheer you on, laugh with you when you swim, throw a rope when you can’t, and be the first to share a cold one at the take out.  You’ll likely keep these friends forever.


So, that’s most of your $20.  A great way to learn to paddle.  Part of the rest helps support what matters to many of us, access to rivers, the environment, and taking care of our community.  TVCC provides donations to groups like the Ocoee River Council, American Whitewater, River Rescue, and Team River Runner.  By the way, some of our donations are dollars, but a lot is sweat equity.  

The rest of the $20 helps us operate the Club.  We must pay for mundane things like admin supplies, internet access, a social media presence, our postal box, and yes, taxes.  With what’s left over the Club provides some great parties, sorry, membership meetings, a holiday party, and this year only, a 50th anniversary celebration.   

As a bonus, being a TVCC member gets you discounts at several local outfitters like Rock/Creek Outfitters and Nantahala Outdoor Center and reduced membership with ACA and American Whitewater.


I know there are some who to want to know more detail about our Club’s Income and Expenses.  So, the following pictures and discussion should help.  


TVCC Income is driven by Paddle School proceeds.  Paddle School is planned as a break-even proposition so that funds received for registration, meals, T-shirts, and camping cover the cost to rent the venue and other provided services.  The Auction however is a fund raiser and generates much of the operational funds needed by the Club to execute its programs.  Membership Dues provide the second source of income used to fund the fun stuff.  Event fees (e.g., winter roll practice) and ACA Fees are a wash as they are used to pay the associated expenses for those activities.


TVCC Expenses are dominated by our Operations and Safety & Training programs.  Paddle School, as noted earlier, pays for itself.  Club Operations programs include hosting the world-recognized Ocoee Race, Winter Roll Practice sessions, Trip Leader Support, our Conservation Program, Donations, and various Membership Meetings.  This year for our 50th Anniversary Celebration, TVCC will be sponsoring a Hiwassee River race in addition to throwing a huge, Huge, HUGE, party for the Members in September.  Our Safety & Training Program provides the Swift Water Rescue training course as well as two sessions of Rescue Rodeo.  They also provide management of the TVCC ACA Instructor scholarship program which is open to all members who desire higher levels of accreditation and who meet the ACA course and TVCC application criteria.  Lastly there are various Support and Administrative expenses the Club pays to conduct its day-to-day business.  These include our internet service provider fees, various software licenses, storage units, banking fees, postal operations, and taxes.


Is your $20 well spent?  We think so, but we would love to hear from you.  What would you like to see us do more of, do less of, or simply do differently?  (By the way, have you noticed that President Jackson is on a $20 bill and Jackson also makes some nice kayaks?  Coincidence?  Hmmm …. perhaps!)



So, next time you find yourself stuck in the middle seat of an overcrowded shuttle, in stinking wet gear, on a hot Tennessee afternoon, look around at the smiling faces of your buddies and ask, “Does it get any better than this?”