TVCC Wins ACA National Level Stroke of Achievement Award

By BG Smith, Treasurer


The Stroke Of Achievement Award is presented to one or more ACA Affiliated Clubs each year for superior performance and program development.  TVCC was awarded this honor for 2017 out of the hundreds of clubs affiliated with ACA.  Below is the narrative submitted to ACA resulting in receipt of this award,



The Tennessee Valley Canoe Club (TVCC) was found in 1967 and is currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary. TVCC is known across the Southeast for 3 major programs it has developed: Paddle School, the Ocoee Race, and its Safety Program.



In a recent interview with founding member Jean Dolan (101 years old), she stated, “Almost nobody had any experience in being a part of a school. We just knew we needed paddling schools, so everybody winged it. We had planning meetings on what should go on and agreed on certain rules.” Since the first paddle schools in the late ‘60s, TVCC has gone on to develop very successful year-round paddling program that begins with Paddle School, held in early summer each year.  At Paddle School students learn the fundamentals of paddling with classes ranging from beginner to intermediate with very low Instructor-Student ratios.  Paddle School is followed with a summer-long series of weekend training trips led by knowledgeable TVCC Trip Leaders providing a safety-infused environment to test members skills, increase confidence, and gain river experience.  This extension of Paddle School offers opportunities to members at all skill levels from Class II to Class IV 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.  Paddle School now hosts over 150 students and over 400 participants total (including instructors, support boaters and volunteers).  Almost all of the instructors at Paddle School are ACA certified instructors.



The Ocoee Race was started in 2008 after an idea by two members Emily Marsh Smoot and Brian Goodwin that it would be fun to race down the river and see who could do it the fastest.  Since then it has grown to include over 15 categories of boaters expanding from Men and Women’s Elite Longboat to include fun categories like Tandem Parent/Child.  Last year, the race had 151 start times made up of 119 racers. The race has a very successful after party with all proceeds [$1500 in 2016, and a $1000 match from TVCC, for a total of $2500] benefiting the Team River Runner Chattanooga, helping disabled American service veterans get out on the river and enjoy paddle sports.  TVCC has developed a truly stellar safety program, regionally recognized for its outstanding quality and value.





Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.