ACA Regional Activity Council Receives Communications Award at the 2024 IBWSS for Community Impact - ACA

Apr 22, 2024

ACA Regional Activity Council Receives Communications Award at the 2024 IBWSS for Community Impact

IBWSS Comms Award

At the 2024 International Boating and Water Safety Summit, the ACA Regional Activity Council received a communication award for the Community Impact category. This program built partnerships between nationally certified ACA instructors with state agencies, regional paddling clubs, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and additional paddlesports stakeholders in Tennessee and North Carolina. This effort taught “Kayaking 101” classes at state parks to kick off National Safe Boating Week in 2023, resulting in hands-on training for 279 students by 179 volunteers from 46 organizations, with an estimated in-kind donation of 1,872 volunteer hours. In addition, this effort generated 36 news stories that with more than 200,000 impressions.

In 2023, ACA RAC Chair and Southeastern Regional Chair Andrea White spearheaded the initiative overall and served as project manager for the effort in Tennessee. ACA North Carolina State Director William Holman led the charge in North Carolina. Laura Franklin from Tennessee State Parks and Jake Vitak from North Carolina State Parks served as key contacts on the respective planning teams for state parks engagement. Roland McDevitt represented the US Coast Guard Auxiliary on the planning team for the North Carolina initiative.

RAC Secretary, Bev Cosslett (pictured above), received this award on behalf of the ACA. Bev looks forward to the 2024 National Safe Boating week where she and ACA South Carolina State Director, Geoff Chambers, are working to bring Kayaking 101 courses to State Parks in South Carolina! Learn more about the IBWSS Communications Award and other recipients on the IBWSS website.

This year, the ACA is looking forward to expanding this initiative to approximately 45 simultaneous classes to kick off National Safe Boating Week in partnership with 10 state agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary across 7 states: Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Texas. The initiative is being led by RAC Chair Andrea White with support from ACA volunteers in every state: ACA North Carolina State Director William Holman and North Carolina State Park Ranger/ACA IT Jake Vitak are leading the way in North Carolina. Whitewater Kayaking Instructor Kim Abney, ACA Tennessee State Director ANDe Demetriou and Tennessee State Parks representative Laura Franklin are leading the effort in Tennessee. RAC Secretary Bev Cosslett and ACA South Carolina State Director Geoff Chambers are at the helm in South Carolina. ACA Kayak Fishing Instructor and Owner of Kaku Kayaks Kevin Hawkins and  ACA Florida State Director/Co-owner of Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers Tatiana Coz Lopez are leading the charge in Florida. ACA Georgia State Director Erin Evans is leading the team in Georgia. RAC Heartland Regional Chair Perry Whittaker is leading the charge in Missouri. And Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Boating Educator/ACA IT Kim Sorensen, ACA Texas State Director Chris Arceneaux and Gulf States Regional Chair Dave Holl are leading the team in Texas. US Coast Guard Auxiliary support is being coordinated by USCG Recreational Boating Specialist/ACA IT Scott Szczepaniak and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Paddle Safety Division Chief/ACA Instructor Roland McDevitt.