November/December 2009

A Change of Season

Many of you were at the CPA Annual Meeting at the beginning of November. And as you will read in this month’s newsletter, it was quite a meeting. There were more people in attendance than ever before.

For me, the Annual Meeting this year was a time of change. As you all know, I have acted as Coordinator for our great club for the past few years, and this year was the time to watch as another took over. Perhaps it is synonymous to the seasons of the year for a paddler. During our summers, we have so many plans and so many places to go and friends to see. Always overwhelmed with the choices of which paddling trips to join, and how to get everything accomplished you want to for that season. Then the warmer season winds down and the fall and eventually the winter comes upon us. We decide that it is time to put the boat away or at least switch over to pool sessions for the duration of the cold. But in your mind you start planning what the next warm season will bring and how many paddling trips you will squeeze into it; how you will make it better than the last; and how many new people you will meet during your paddling adventures next year.

That was rather how I saw that day last month as it started early with a pre-meeting paddle on the Anacostia. It was a dreary morning with a sky full of pouring rain. I asked myself if I would even see anyone come out for a paddle in that weather. But to my surprise, a dozen people came to join me. Most of them were familiar; close friends who I paddle with often on the Potomac, and some I only paddle with once or twice a year. And amongst the familiar were new friends who had just moved to this area from California. They were joining us for the first time to find out about the club they heard so much of from another close friend of mine who had moved from Washington DC to California a few years back. Not only did we have a great paddle that morning, but we succeeded in treating everyone to a breakfast at the waters edge of coffee, bagels, and donuts. Yes, in the rain. But that was the fun of it. It was the effort of friends working together to make the fun happen, despite the weather.

At the meeting, we all gathered around and discussed the great events that took place over 2009, and those that are already planned for 2010. We talked about changes that are occurring in the club and how we will resolve them over the following year, and then we all voted for the officers and Steering Committee for 2010. Ed Hershon will be the coordinator for 2010, Rich Stevens the Treasurer, Sue Bauer the Secretary and Membership Coordinator, and the six people on the Steering Committee will be Matt Blakey, Brian Blankinship, Gina Cicotello, Ralph Heimlich, Dave Isbell, and Bela Mariassy. A great group of people; all great friends and all great paddlers.

As the meeting wrapped up, I could not help spending time talking to as many people as possible. Somehow I just wanted to thank everyone who comes out to CPA events, whether they be casual paddlers or trip leaders, whether they be a part of a swim support team or a part of the CPA officer list. I know that it is the hard work and dedication of all the members of the club which makes it so enjoyable for me and for everyone. We all work together in our ways to make things better every new paddling season.

After the meeting, I knew that it was one of the last events for the year. After the last Piracy paddle and after the CPA Holiday Party, everyone will go their own ways for the winter. We will see familiar faces for pool sessions every once in a while, but no matter how active we try to be, we will always feel that our boats have been put away awaiting the warmth of spring and the planning of a new season. My paddling season is over.

But soon enough, spring will come. And with spring will come new gatherings of paddlers for new CPA events of 2010. All the planning will begin anew. I know that Ed, Rich and Sue along with Matt, Brian, Gina, Ralph, Dave and Bela will do a wonderful job of inspiring all paddlers in the Chesapeake area to join together in making events better than they have been before. 2010 will be a great year for paddling in this area. And it has started already. Gina, Suzanne and Jenny have already named a date for CPA’s An Introduction to Sea Kayaking, and Brian has found a way to carry on CPA’s Weekend of Sea Kayak Training at Lake Anna for one more year.

Hurray for the events held by our CPA members, and hurray for the new season. It is indeed a season of change and 2010 will be a season of paddling to look forward to. I look forward to the paddling events next year and paddling with all my friends. I look forward to what will be planned, and I look forward to taking part in it. For me it will be just a little bit different, and perhaps if you meet up with me you can ask if I am enjoying my season of change.

The Chesapeake Paddlers Association, Inc. Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting

November 1, 2009
Ellen E. Linson Aquatics Center
5211 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740-3801

Members present: 44 + several guests

Coordinator Dave Biss
Current officers:
Rich Stevens – Treasurer
Sue Bauer- Secretary/ Membership

Current Steering Committee Members:
Brian Blankinship
Gina Cicotello
Suzanne Farace
Ralph Heimlich
Ed Hershon
Yvonne Thayer

Business discussion

Coordinator Dave Biss opens the annual CPA business meeting at 12:30 pm, welcomed everyone, and introduced Current Officers and Steering Committee Members. He also distributed available pamphlets, membership applications, cold weather gear brochures, the 2009 financial report, Membership reports – spread out along the front tables.

Dave asked everyone to sign in and to vote on the distributed ballots for 2010 Officers and steering committee. Paul Bieri and Suzanne Farace volunteered to tabulate all ballots and the previously mailed ballots.

Dave thanked everyone who assisted throughout the year with Club events. He gave special thanks to Ralph Heimlich for his outstanding job as Managing Editor/ Layout of the PADDLER Newsletter, as well as hosting again the annual Holiday Party set for December 5. Thanks also go to Lynn Erwin who served as the Articles Editor, to Mark Woodside who handles the print version of the Paddler Newsletter mailing/ distribution, and to Ed Hershon who handled the membership card program and the CPA patch distribution. Dave also pointed out Nelson and Caroline Labbe who manages the CPA Library – books, DVDs and videos. The Club offered over 111 paddling trips and other organized events during 2009.

Dave expressed the club’s appreciation to Yvonne Thayer and Gina Cicotello for their work on coordination and registrations and to Jenny Plummer-Welker for the publicity support with the local news papers for Sea Kayaking Basics Class (SK101) March 14, 2009. Everyone agreed that this is a great recruiting program. All agreed that this basic off- the-water class should be offered every year for beginning training before the paddling season starts. It is an excellent opportunity for new people to meet experienced paddlers and to learn from them first hand. There were 80 students in the March 2009 class, and there should be additional space available for more students as the West River Center is expanding into a larger facility. There should be no need to wait-list students for the Class to be held in March 2010- a firm date is pending- and Gina agreed to handle registration.

Dave also thanked everyone who assisted with the second big event – Sea Kayaking Immediate Skills Clinic (SK102) at Lake Anna, VA held May 1-3, 2009. He thanked Brian Blankinship who has coordinated the clinic for all eleven years. Over 800 new paddlers have completed the clinics – nearly a 100 people attended in 2009. In 2010, Brian announced that a committee is looking at an alternate site on Kent Island or several other locations, as a one day class, with no camping opportunity. He is working with a search committee and will be seeking instructors.

Dave thanked everyone who assisted with – A Day with Dubside – a one day master’s training class with World Class Greenland roller/ paddler Dubside.

There was good attendance by club members and the public for the Club Gear Day event held at Occoquan State Park, Occoquan VA on May 31 – which was coordinated by Suzanne Farace, who announced that the event will be rotating to Truxton Park in Annapolis, MD in 2010.

NEWSLETTER – Editor Ralph Heimlich – requests more paddling articles- and original stories – and photos.

Dave also thanked all the many leaders and members participating in the eight local paddling Piracies – regularly offering after work paddling opportunities around the area during the week- including: Potomac (Belle Haven Marina), Georgetown group (POG) , Pier 7 – Annapolis, Baltimore, Patuxent River – Solomons, Havre de Grace (North), Algonkian, and Sugarloaf.

There is a typically Greenland Paddle Making Class is usually held every other year – which is coordinated by Caroline and Nelson Labbe– who spends considerable effort in rough cutting all the wood blanks for each participant’s specifications, and Nelson indicated that he would organize the class again in 2010- which fills within days.
Paddler Jesse Aronson held a small impromptu carving session last spring.

Dave also emphasized the many swim support activities – and thanked the Club members who participate- including the one mile and 4.2 mile Chesapeake Bay Swims, the Potomac River Swim, the DC Triathlon, and the Chester River MD Swim-for-Life, the Columbia Triathlon, and the Iron Girl Triathlon. He is seeking a member to act a central support/ point person to handle details with the various Swim Event coordinators and to help gather volunteer kayakers. Matt Blakey volunteered on the spot to be the support person. There is a new US Open Water Swim coming in 2010- which Dave will have the details.

Treasurer Rich Stevens presented the 2009 Annual Financial Report – a detailed copy and the financial summary is attached. Rich reported that the ending checking balance has increased 8% to $17,067.15. The Paypal payment option, began in May 2008, has collected more membership dues payments than through the traditional personal check method in 2009; Paypal fees to date were $174.93. The different events and activities, expenses and net profits were also summarized in the financial report. Outside funding of $992.00 were received from Chesapeake Bay Swim, Inc, Columbia Triathlon, Inc. and from Potomac Paddlesports, Inc. Only one piracy had claimed available funds to date – Pier 7- Annapolis of $250.00 – and several other piracies will be submitting their own group expenses (max. $25/member up to $250) by November. Logo gear sales for new Club patches and quick-wick long sleeve shirts were $1,739.19.

General discussion of the expenses and profits for the events and other details in the financial report generated a lot of interest. Everyone agreed that the Club will need to find new ways and new ideas for future classes and other activities to properly utilize the funds during the year to benefit the most number of members. There is concern that future income may level off with the new popular longer term membership dues structure started in March 2009 ($10 =1yr, $18= 2yrs, $27=3yrs, $45= 4yrs) and with future paid –up 20 year life memberships. Several ideas were discussed – such as utilizing funds to support other non profit groups and out reach, for the club members to raise funds for specific outside philanthropic causes, to purchase a basic kayak fleet to loan-out for members and other club activities, or to purchase a kayak trailer for club group outings. Dave proffered a challenge for a team to gather new ideas for the use of club funds.

Secretary and Membership coordinator Sue Bauer presented the summary of the current membership. The charts in the Membership Report 2009 were compiled by Ralph Heimlich from the CPA database – a detailed copy is attached. As of October 2009 there were 627 active members, up from 573 in 2007 and 604 in 2008. There has been a rapid increase since 2000 when membership was around 400. Membership longevity shows that 17% been a member for a year, and 39 % for two- five years, and 25% have been members for 6-10 years, and 18% for 10-20 years. The charts also show that the membership gained 157 in 2009, but the Club is losing 101 -120 members each year. For example, of 195 members who joined in 2008, only 30% renewed during 2009.

The club now has 4 members who have qualified for CPA life membership: Dave Isbell (member #22), Greg Welker and Jenny Plummer- Welker (members #42), and Barry Miller (member # 95) – who have paid CPA membership dues totaling 20 years.

Regionally, Maryland represents 64 % (385) of active members and Virginia has 27 % (153) and DC is third highest count with a more members in nearby states. Our most distant members live in California and in Britain. We have 595 members receiving the Paddler Newsletter electronically and 74 members who opt for the printed version.

Our group discussion offered many suggestions:

  • it is a normal statistical trend in organizations- that less than 20% are active
  • create a survey online to get feedback (Survey Monkey website)
  • out reach to those 30% of new members renewing
  • what features do new paddlers seek?
  • easier trips/ shorter distances / comfort level for beginning paddlers/ freq. breaks
  • more volunteers as trip leaders
  • less gear requirements and start at beginner level
  • local Piracies are good social connection to encourage beginners
  • more skill practice opportunities
  • recreational kayak fishing is fastest growing segment
  • offer cross –over events with both whitewater elements and flat-water skill training


The LOGO Gear report was presented by Bela Mariassy (the Gearmeister): the new quick wicking long sleeve shirts have been well received at $15 each; sales have been steady and he has sold 20% of the shirts, mostly by email order/ check (with a $5 mailing cost). Most orders are requesting either of the 2 blue shirts. The over- large sizing has been a bit of an issue fitting smaller paddlers. The representative from Open-Air Wear, Inc. indicated that future orders can be tweaked to accommodate popular colors and sizes. Bela is offering the Logo shirts for sale at the meeting- and the sales were brisk. He also offered another alternative – for $25 they can order an individual embroidered CPA logo and your name in color onto your own choice of cotton woven type shirt. There are only 11 CPA logo caps left in stock for sale.

Next discussion was held on revising the CPA BYLAWS –led by Ed Hershon- who has working within the Steering Committee to update and amend the Bylaws. We are seeking clarification in the Club purpose and educational mission to allow CPA to be legally recognized as a non profit 501 C (3) status. The club is now a 501 C (4) non profit organization as accepted by the IRS in 2009. The Steering Committee also is considering options to allow for new technology and to encourage additional membership participation by on- line structured electronic voting. Ed presented a formal motion; seconded by Gina Cicotello:

MOTION : TO establish a sub- committee to revise the CPA bylaws and to allow secure electronic voting procedures, and to hold a special membership meeting to ratify the changes by Fall 2010. PASSED

There was general discussion to set up a venue for a special membership meeting to ratify the proposed bylaw changes. It was recommended for the Steering Committee to meet at ONE central location during the Spring Trip planning meeting time to discuss the bylaw revisions in February 2010. It was recommended to put out the proposed amendments and changes onto the on –line Forum and in the Paddler Newsletters with sufficient time for members to comment and to hold a general membership vote by next spring.

Coordinator Dave Biss summarized the morning paddle held just before the Membership meeting – and welcomed two new paddlers Rich Pieper and Paula Hubbard – who just moved from CA and paddled with the morning group of 12.

Race Series – although none were held this year per Cyndi Janetzko; the same people were coming out to paddle each time, so the event was turned into peer paddles.

Dave Biss distributed CPA ROCKERS to three new Pirate Captains for 2009– including Bela Mariassy – Pier 7 – Annapolis, Ms. Jay Gitomer – Baltimore, and Matt Blakey – POG. Additional CPA Rockers were distributed to other members and paddlers who assisted during 2009 as: trip leaders, swim support, safety boaters, event volunteers, and class instructors. ED Hershon – was presented with the bright red ROCKER as the new CPA Coordinator in 2010.

The group congratulated and recognized paddler Marshall Woodruff who dedicated his time to organize the most number of trips: 12 for 2009 – for the 38 mile Kent Island circum-navigation paddles (KIP) and four seasons Eastern Neck Island trips.

We recognized paddler Ralph Heimlich who organized the most overnight camping events – with 10 paddling events including 6 camping trips.

We also recognized Bill Dodge – who has pioneered trips for many years, including St. Clements Island, and keeps right on paddling at age 80 (it was rumored that when the Calverts landed in Maryland, Bill was there….)

Election Results were announced by tabulators Suzanne Farace and Paul Bieri:

2010 Coordinator: Ed Hershon
Treasurer: Rich Stevens
Secretary: Sue Bauer

2010 Steering Committee (6):
Matt Blakey * new
Brian Blankinship
Gina Cicotello
Ralph Heimlich
Dave Isbell * new
Bela Mariassy * new


Congratulations were offered to all newly elected steering committee members and thanks to all other club members who have offered support and time and personal skills that make CPA a great group of paddlers. Dave urged everyone to keep the membership topics active:

  • addressing new paddler needs
  • how to involve new members
  • more skill related events
  • instilling confidence for new trip leaders
  • more activities for Club members


2010 TRIP PLANNING MEETINGS – all are welcome to attend: Our Club goal to put lots of trips on calendar, find new locations for paddle trips and seek new ideas. There were 111 events on the calendar in 2009 – with more to come in 2010.

Meeting adjoined by out -going Coordinator of Three YEARS – Dave Biss at 3 pm.

Following the meeting: Kathy Jacobs of Open Air Wear, Inc., whose company made the special order CPA shirts, offered a variety of outdoor clothing and overstock items for sale.

UPCOMING: CPA EVENT – DEC 5 hosted by Ralph and Beth Heimlich

Respectfully submitted,
Sue Bauer
CPA Secretary/ Membership

November 20, 2009.

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