By Dian Lawhon.
Approximately 260 paddlers will be headed to TVCC’s Paddle School, June 2nd-4th. There are 159 students comprising 135 whitewater paddlers and 24 in the flatwater courses. Whitewater classes range from Class I whitewater all the way to Class IV, and even include children paddlers. This year, flatwater courses will include the tradition training on lakes/slow moving water and a second course for faster water that isn’t quite up to whitewater classifications.
Of course, an essential part of paddle school are the instructors and support boaters with 101 registered for this year. The 33 instructors will be sharing their knowledge and skills with both new and and developing paddlers; covering safety and on-water education. Many instructors are ACA accredited and are happy to pass their knowledge onto other TVCC paddlers. Of course, we couldn’t do this training without the 68 (highly experienced) support boaters.
As in the past, Beth Johnson will lead the effort to provide the amazing community meals both Friday and Saturday evenings. After dinner on Saturday, there will be the traditional live auction with donated items put up for bid or given as door prizes. The auction provides great exposure for our donors and the proceeds allow us to continue our tradition of making paddle sports accessible, affordable, safe, and fun.
Last but not least, is a ‘herd’ of volunteers who have and will help with the myriad of administrative details. Of course, ALL workers planning and implementing Paddle School are volunteers! Hats off in advance to some of the most hard working including Meryl Stark, VP, lead planner; Kristin Evans, AVP, lead for seeking sponsors; BG Smith, who turned his Treasurer duties into a full time job for Paddle School; Rebecca Hendrix; all support boaters and instructors; Felicia Crowell, Spence Lycan, Jenn Whitlock, and LaDawn Wolfe along with many others that I hope to include in next month’s wrap up story.
Money raised at the auction enables us to further our mission. We do this in many ways, including providing safety for local events such the Sports Barn Triathlon and the annual Girl Scout Raft Race. Additionally, we are active in waterway conservation and preservation events, lead river clean-ups, and guide rafts for the Big Brother/Big Sister Raft Day. We also work with local Emergency Medical Services and Response teams on developing their Swift Water Rescue programs and organize the annual TVCC Ocoee Race, which benefits First Descents and Team River Runner.