Community, Newsletter: Coordinator's Column

CPA Elections And You

by Ralph Heimlich

Many thanks are due to the outgoing officers, led by Coordinator Jay Gitomer and including SC members Jen Bine, Paula Hubbard, Maywin Liu, Catriona Miller, Rob Pearlman, Sue Stevens, Rich Stevens and Rick Wiebush.  In their two-year run, Jay and her team worked successfully to insure pool sessions when Fairland Pool changed their policies toward paddlers, secured liability insurance for  CPA activities for the first time, and developed a number of new activities, including Survivor, Paddle Clash, a cold water clinic featuring U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Mario Vittone, and a boat and paddle repair workshop.  Long-standing activities such as SK101, SK102, Gear Day, Trip Leader Training, the Holiday Party, the weekly Piracies and others continued and many trips were on the calendar, including a series of Beginner paddles to ease new paddlers into the sport.  The outgoing crew continues a long tradition of active leadership and innovation that have kept the Chesapeake Paddlers Association such a great organization.

I, and the incoming Steering Committee, hope to build on this firm foundation over the 2013 season, if possible by broadening participation to reach out to more Piracies, encourage more members to step up as trip leaders, and bring in more members to participate in our many activities.  CPA Piracies are spread over the entire Mid-Atlantic, ranging from Richmond to the Susquehanna Lakes.  We are over 700 members strong, but it is nearly impossible for all of us to meet face-to-face in one place.  Our largest activities have about 150 people participating, and 102 (14%) voted in the election.  That will continue to be true, but we need to encourage members across the region to participate in their local Piracy and urge them to lead and participate in trips in their local area.

To that end, one of my focal areas will be expanded training opportunities for trip leaders.  This is not an emphasis on developing individual skills, but a focus on navigation and weather knowledge, first aid and emergency management, trip administration, and on-water leadership skills for those intending to lead CPA trips that will benefit all of us.  CPA does not certify leaders.  Instead, we offer resources so that members who participate in club events and training reach a level of competence that empowers them to step up and lead.  If you have been in the club several years and gone on a number of trips, consider stepping up to lead (I’ll be in touch with you, count on it).  If you feel a gap in your skills, check out the training offered this year and make a point to fill that gap.  Is there a topic we’re missing?  Email or call me and let me know.  If you want to lead a trip, I can pair you up with an experienced trip leader to help you get on your “training wheels”.  Read DJ Manalo’s account of a Thomas Point Lighthouse trip he led as an example of doing it right as a beginning trip leader.

Leading a trip does not have to be the equivalent of an expedition to the North Pole.  A beginner paddle on a protected water body is a great way to get your feet (and only your feet!) wet as a trip leader.  One of the popular types of trip this year was paddles to a destination (to see lotus blossoms and a colonial mansion, to a historic park, or for nature photography.  You may be able to combine paddling with another interest or activity that others would enjoy.  We do a lot of car- and kayak-camping on our trips, but you could arrange to stay in a B&B or fancy hotel instead.

Even though the paddling “season” is now ending, NOW is the time to do some arm-chair traveling to plan trips for the coming season.  We have two planning meetings in February (one in MD, one in VA) to map out the trips for 2013 season.  You should be ready with your trip ideas at those meetings.  Check the tentative calendar on page 10, and keep checking the CPA calendar at for the dates of the larger events so your planned trip doesn’t conflict with them.

Thanks again to the outgoing officers, and welcome to the new leadership.  See you all at the CPA Holiday Party on December 1st !

Ralph Heimlich



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