J. Henry Rushton Award
J. Henry Rushton Award
Presented annually to an organization or other group for outstanding achievements in advancing paddlesport and the mission of the ACA.
2020 - Tennessee Valley Canoe Club
In a year that has been anything but normal, the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club (TVCC) stands out as a group that was able to carry out what is believed to be its finest year in a long history of excellence. As one of ACA’s Paddle America Clubs, TVCC has further solidified their commitment to ACAs mission to further paddlesports education, stewardship, recreational opportunities, community, and even competition.
TVCC has worked tirelessly in developing COVID-19 paddling protocols to be able to provide clinics. The Summer Whitewater Training Program was successfully reestablished after evaluating COVID-19 protocols and has run 14 trips on the Hiwassee, Nantahala, Pigeon, Green, and Wesser Rivers for over 150 students through September. The flatwater program saw significant growth and has led over 400 paddlers down local creeks to date. Additionally, TVCC held its very popular Rescue Rodeo, a course that teaches fundamental whitewater safety skills and techniques to 20 students and held a Swift Water Rescue course for 15 more.
In addition to the above, in January of 2020 TVCC completed development of an interactive map depicting 255 locations of access ramps, riverside camping, outfitters, and scenic opportunities for flatwater paddling within a 1 hour drive of Chattanooga. The map was widely shared with outlets that support the local paddling community including government and tourism organizations. Supporting this map, and safe paddling for the entire local community, is the TVCC creek maintenance program, now in it’s seventh year, which this year conducted 88 miles of river maintenance, employing over 250 man-hours, by a team of seven volunteers.
TVCC, thanks for going above and beyond and helping to represent the ACA as a Paddle America Club!
2019 - Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley
The 2019 J. Henry Rushton Award for Organizational Excellence is the Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley! The Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley provides paddlesport and sailing instruction to underserved, inner-city youth. The Club brings youth from East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley to the ocean and waterways where they use kayaks, SUPs, sailboats, and dragon boats.
Youth come from five sites located in Monterey Park, La Puente, Baldwin Park and three public housing developments in the region. Many of the members are the most vulnerable youth in the city, subject to gang activities, unstable homes, and extreme poverty. The Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley makes paddlesports available to these populations of at-risk youth who would not otherwise participate in these activities.
Thank you, B&G Club of West San Gabriel Valley for making a difference in the lives of these young paddlers!
2018 - Wogg Works Kayaking
Christine and Walt Vosicka created Wogg Works Kayaking over 10 years ago to encourage safe kayaking skills in the Omaha, Nebraska area. They have worked with the City of Omaha to be sanctioned as a mobile outfitter. Walt has over 60 years of boating experience and takes great pride in discussing the various design elements of each kayak that is part of his fleet. Chris and Walt stress safety above anything else and that includes making sure that the kayak fits the individual, they accomplish this by having a wide variety of kayaks as part of their mobile fleet. During the year Chris and Walt will launch over 1,000 kayakers.
Numerous Boy Scout troops have come to Wogg Works kayaking to complete the badge requirement skills. In addition to individual lessons, Wogg has created lesson packages for a women’s college volleyball team, church groups, 4H clubs, scouts, and team building activities. Chris and Walt have also work with the VNA to support breast awareness and have an annual outing to raise funds. Both are certified ACA Level 1 Instructors with the Adaptive Paddling Endorsement. Through the Adaptive program they have been able to get stroke victims back on the water. Wogg Works Kayaking is an active participate with the Nebraska Game and Parks Department and provides guided river opportunities to help teach river skills to other interested members of the paddling community.
Wogg Works kayaking has also become a community of paddlers who enjoy the company of each other and celebrate by pot lucking, going to events like FLOATZILLA on the Mississippi River, river racing, and hanging out in boats. It is always safety first and drinking is not tolerated on the water. If you don’t wear your PFD, you don’t paddle with the Wogg.
Their love for the water is so strong that when others would have retired ….. they keep going. As a result, many folks have joined the ACA and the number of paddlers in the Omaha area has grown exponentially thanks to Chris and Walt Vosicka of Wogg Works Kayaking.
2017 - San Diego Canoe Kayak Team
SDCKT is a non-profit organization focused on developing young athletes in Olympic style sprint Kayaking & Canoeing, Ocean Surfski racing and Stand Up Paddleboard racing. Founded twenty years ago by USA Sprint Kayak Olympian, Chris Barlow, the team includes paddlers of all skill levels and ages. For beginners, SDCKT offers an Introduction to Paddling Program which meets 1-3 times per week and emphasizes the fundamentals of Canoe/Kayak/SUP technique and water safety. In the winter, SDCKT runs the Lightning Cup Series to give our younger paddlers an opportunity to participate in racing events. The SDCKT racing team allows athletes to progress into faster and more challenging boats with the goal of competing at regional events, National Championships and trying out for USA National Teams. In the winter, Racing Team members have the opportunity to take part in the SOCAL Ocean Racing series on Surfskis. In the summer the emphasis is on USA National Team Trials, USA National Championships, and International Championship opportunities. To encourage college students to continue paddling as a life-long activity, SDCKT offers a Collegiate Program, complete with coached morning workouts, with a focus on competing at regional, national and international competitions. SDCKT also offers a Master program, open to adults interested in improving technique, and SDCKT supports paracanoeists and has paracanoes available for use. SDCKT provides access to over 150 assorted water craft, including canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, prone boards, surfskis and more. Our inventory is filled with everything from training boats to elite race racing craft, and singles to team boats. We also have strength and conditioning equipment. SDCKT has won National Championship Titles in the Bantam, Juvenile, Junior and Senior Age Groups. With respect to protecting paddling environments, SDCKT participates in beach and waterway cleanups all around Mission Bay in San Diego, in partnership with I Love a Clean San Diego. In addition, during the drought in California, SDCKT did its part in minimizing water usage around the boathouse.
2016 - California Aquatics
California Aquatics exposes tens of thousands of new paddlers to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding every year while maintaining consistently high standards of safety and training by using innovative blended teaching techniques including video, simulators, excellent instructors and equipment. California Aquatics is located on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, California. The company trains and outfits hundreds of novice kayakers and stand up paddleboarders daily. Ken Williams, the owner, has developed a unique, innovative, high quality program of safety and training for new paddlers in a high volume environment. This blended program integrates on-site video, online education, instructor led on-the-water training as well as beach simulator training. In 1976 Williams started training high school students in scuba diving for the school districts in Los Angeles and Orange County, California where there had previously been fatal accidents. Williams developed a strong training program to ensure safety and consistent quality while handling a large volume of students. He has drawn on his experiences to apply these lessons to paddling and developed an efficient “certification course” that provides safety, fun, and 100% proof of non-omissions. Seven days a week hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds, most of whom have never paddled before, gather through word of mouth to learn from California Aquatics. Ken Williams and the staff at California Aquatics have developed a terrific system. Over the course of a year they do an excellent job training tens of thousands of new paddlers annually to basic ACA standards.
2015 - Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
Herb Angell, Nebraska Boating Law Administrator, was the architect behind applying for the US Coast Guard Grant and adopting the ACA curriculum as part of the day to day paddlesports education program of the Commission. His commitment, vision and initiative has been largely responsible for the increased number of ACA Instructors, skills course participants and attention to professional paddlesports education in the State of Nebraska. Herb is also the past President of the National Association of Boating Safety Law Administrators and has been deliberate in sharing the success of implementing the ACA programs with other state boating safety law administrators.
Nebraska, while not often considered a paddlesports destination, has a thriving paddlesports community. The Nebraska Game & Parks Division has done exceptional work collaborating with schools, universities, local law enforcement and interested citizens in promoting the ACA and elevating the level of paddlesports education across the state. In 2014, Nebraska reported 1,054 skills course participants. The majority of these participants came through Nebraska Game & Parks Commission courses. Additionally, the Commission focuses a tremendous amount of energy, time and resources at the Nebraska State Fair where they promote the ACA curriculum, skills courses and paddlesports opportunities to a huge audience of attendees. While the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission has been involved with the ACA for a relatively short time, it is obvious to see what a trajectory their leadership team and staff have done. I have been most impressed with what an underserved state has done in a relatively compact period of time.
2014 - MTI
MTI has truly exemplified the description of the J. Henry Rushton Award. They have partnered with the ACA in numerous ways, including: promoting ACA membership through a postcard sized hang-tag on all their 2013-14 life jackets; donating countless inflatable beltpack PFDs to ACA SUP Instructor Trainers across the country; listening to ACA Instructor feedback when redesigning their PFDs; and much more. In addition, MTI principle, Gordon Colby has volunteered for many years in a leadership capacity for the PFD Manufacturer’s Association (PFDMA). The ACA is routinely asked to present at the PFDMA Annual Conference.
2013 - REI Outdoor School
REI Outdoor School provides outdoor enthusiasts with beginner to advanced level classes and outings in a variety of activities. Participants can learn something new or choose to improve their skills in an area they already enjoy. The experts at REI Outdoor School teach classes in outdoor fitness, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, stand up paddleboarding, navigation, snowshoeing, road cycling, camping, skiing, wilderness medicine, and more. Equipment and fun is included!
2012 - BIC Sport Paddle Surf
BIC Sport Paddle Surf has directly allowed the ACA to significantly increase its outreach in regards to the entire SUP community. Both their Product and Marketing Manager, Jimmy Blakeney, and their Director of Sales and Marketing for all of North America, Chris Decerbo, have provided their time and insights to the ACA in order to grow and develop the ACA’s SUP program. BIC Sport Paddle Surf has directly assisted the ACA with the following: Providing crucial information for the ACA to attend and present at Surf Expo (important forum for SUP); Provided SUP related product support to the ACA; Instrumental in the ACA’s first SUP Summit in Louisville, KY; Allowed staff member Jimmy Blakeney to provide countless hours on both the intro, surf, and whitewater SUP curricula development; Worked with the ACA to sponsor the new Essentials of SUP instructional DVD that was released in 2012.
2011 - Cleveland MetroParks Institute for the Great Outdoors
Since 1989, Cleveland Metroparks Institute of the Great Outdoors (IGO) has provided quality paddlesport skills classes and experiential programs to Cuyahoga County residents of all abilities. Each year, IGO’s field staff incorporates water safety, stewardship and fun into their year-round outdoor recreation curriculum to reach as many as 500 paddlers a year. Located in urban Cleveland, Ohio, IGO faces challenges such as; lack of a recreation facility, small staff, limited budget and high outdoor recreation program demand by partnering with local high schools and colleges for pool access in order to offer kayaking classes year round. In order to offer year round boater safety and skill programs such as boater education classes and knot tying, IGO utilizes nature center classrooms. These combined efforts allow IGO to reach communities on the east and west side of Cleveland and to cater to needs of this urban community as much as possible. This year, IGO was the first in the state to receive a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft, for Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP). As a result, an aggressive SUP class schedule began this summer providing education on USCG and Ohio SUP regulations; SUP instructor training; and opportunities for all ages to enjoy this explosive paddlesport. In addition to SUP classes, IGO broadened paddling experiences along the Cuyahoga River by partnering with the Cleveland Rowing Foundation. This new partnership allows IGO to offer kayakers and canoeists safer access along the Cuyahoga River; provide education on safe paddling with freighter traffic; and provide environmental education on water quality and conservation. To continue to promote safe river paddling, staff serves on a local steering committee working towards developing a water trail along the Cuyahoga River. IGO continues to expand its stewardship of our waterways through partnerships with ACA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Cleveland Rowing Foundation, other county park districts and local recreation departments. Serving as a mobile outdoor recreation unit, IGO travels to other communities providing kayaking, canoeing, SUP educational classes and other paddling opportunities beyond the boundaries of Cleveland Metroparks. Kayaking and canoeing excursions take people to southern Ohio and other states using paddling as a means to encouraging residents to develop an understanding of how our waterways are connected and how we can protect and conserve them for future generations. As IGO continues to strive for excellence all staff are required to maintain ACA instructor certifications for kayaking and canoeing. In addition, all volunteer safety boaters are required to complete a certified ACA paddling class and many have obtained ACA instructor certifications and endorsements. IGO staff actively serve on ACA committees for planning the Adaptive Instructor Workshop and the newly formed SUP committee. IGO also continues its active partnership with ACA to provide staff and volunteer support the outstanding ACA Adaptive Instructor Workshop.
2010 - National Water Safety Congress
The National Water Safety Congress is committed to continuing their leadership role in advancing the promotion of education for the safety of recreational water activities throughout the United States, and internationally, by addressing water related recreation accidents and drowning throughout the nation. To accomplish this, the Congress will: Provide meaningful water safety training and education seminars, through the creation of educational, hands-on programs and providing materials and curriculum to train the trainers and other water safety professionals throughout the country. Establish and support local water safety councils and organizations, providing them with the latest educational materials for their regions. Award publicly those who have made outstanding contributions in water safety educational efforts or in preventing accidents or loss of life. Develop, publish and distribute the most current and proven effective water safety information, including providing hands-on educational curriculum for youth, families and other water safety educators and professionals, with a CONSISTENT message applicable with the direction of the National Recreational Boating Safety Strategic Plan. Encourage uniform legislation and reciprocity of boating and water safety laws among the individual states and federal agencies.
2008 - Paddlers around the Chesapeake
The mission of the Chesapeake Paddlers Association, Inc. is to help people safely enjoy sea kayaking and to promote safe paddling practices through the education of the local sea kayaking community and the interested public. Club activities may include, but are not limited to: kayak trips, kayak camping trips, instructional workshops, informal weekday evening paddles, parties, and any other activities consistent with the mission that members of the club wish to organize. The Chesapeake Paddlers Association, Inc. is a completely volunteer-run organization with a formal leadership structure. Besides the established leadership, we also have numerous volunteers who work tirelessly to support all aspects of the group, including our web site, newsletter, online community, paddling trips and workshops.
2007 - Hoofer Outing Club
The Wisconsin Hoofers Outing Club is a year-round outdoor activities club for all interests, abilities and backgrounds. Hoofers bike, kayak, canoe and rock climb when it’s warm; cross-country and telemark ski when it’s cold; and cave, backpack and camp all year long! We offer a wide range of affordable adventures. Average trip costs usually are just the cost of food and gas. We welcome all levels of experience, beginners and advanced. Trips range from high-intensity adventure to low-key relaxation. Club members will teach you the skills you need for activities. Boating lessons and beginners-only trips and workshops are offered throughout the year. Kayak or canoe down Wisconsin’s many rivers or take a moonlight canoe trip on Lake Mendota. Sea Kayak in Lake Michigan or Lake Superior. Practice rolling in the Natatorium pool. And don’t forget the annual Whitewater Rodeo!Visit the wilderness nearby or hundreds or miles away. Take a day hike or a week-long excursion. Camp out in Door County, the Porcupine or Smoky Mountains, Canada, or even frozen Lake Mendota!
2006 - Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base
The flagship base of Northern Tier, this historic base has offered wilderness canoe adventures since 1923. Treks take crews into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and north into Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario. Together, these two areas give crews a chance to experience some of the most spectacular lakes and forests in the world, with over 3 million acres of fishing, canoeing, and wilderness camping. This base is also the location for the Okpik Cold Weather Camping Program and serves as the year-round operational center for Northern Tier. The Sommers base features 28 sleeping cabins, a trading post, new state-of-the-art dining hall, voyageur encampment area, Bay Post outfitters, and an authentic post-and-beam style commissary. Enjoy a voyageur rendezvous in the lodge and a well-deserved sauna your last evening at the base. The Northern Tier National High Adventure Program operates within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and is a cooperator with the U.S. Forest Service under the Superior National Forest.
2005 - Subaru of America
The American Canoe Association is proud to count Subaru of America among its corporate sponsors. Subaru is the official vehicle of the ACA. As part of Subaru’s support for the association, ACA members are eligible to participate in the Subaru VIP Partners Program. VIP Partners participants can save up to $3,300* off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (depending on model and equipment selected) on the purchase or lease of any new Subaru from participating dealers. This discount is available to all eligible ACA members. No haggling is required. Now that’s a member benefit! In addition to providing discounts to ACA members, Subaru is partnering with your ACA to support the ACA’s stewardship and conservation programs. When an ACA member purchases a vehicle through the VIP Partners Program, Subaru makes a contribution to support ACA’s stewardship work, providing the organization with much-needed resources for protecting our nation’s waterways. Subaru of America understands, as should all manufacturers, that it has a great responsibility to the environment. But clean vehicles are just one part of it. Learn what we’re doing to keep the world clean and beautiful. In 2004, our Subaru of Indiana manufacturing plant became the first automotive assembly facility to be “zero landfill,” meaning all waste is recycled or turned into electricity. In other words, a single-family home produces more waste in a day than our SIA plant does in a year.
2004 - U.S. Coast Guard - Office of Boating Safety
Our Vision. As an agency of the Federal government and a servant of the public, the U.S. Coast Guard, in its role as the designated National Recreational Boating Safety Coordinator, is a leader in improving the boating experience of the maritime public. We are an organization noted for working in partnership with all stakeholders within the waterways activity spectrum and across all modes of transportation to reach consensus solutions. We measure our success by our customer satisfaction, and our customers’ needs help define our workload and priorities.Our Mission. To minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental impact associated with the use of recreational boats, through preventive means, in order to maximize safe use and enjoyment of U.S. Waterways by the public.
2003 - Texas Parks & Wildlife Urban Program Division
To assist cities as they strive to enhance the livability of their urban environments, Texas Parks and Wildlife has assigned wildlife biologists to work in each of the largest urban areas. The duties of these “urban biologists” include providing opportunities for urban residents to reconnect with the natural systems, presenting educational programs for adults and students on a variety of habitat/wildlife issues, serving as technical advisors on multi-agency conservation planning initiatives, and assisting landowners with habitat restoration or enhancements.
2002 - Edisto River Trail Commission
Our group is officially the Edisto River Canoe & Kayak Trail Commission. We usually refer to the organization as “ERCK”. ERCK is a group of volunteers committed to the preservation of the Edisto River, educating people on safe paddling, and emphasizing the enjoyment of paddling. All instructors are American Canoe Association certified. Preservation of the Edisto River is important to us because of the many wonders it offers. During the course of the day, you may see a variety of wildlife including deer, turtles, water snakes, river otters, alligators and many types of birds. Quiet paddlers are often rewarded with sightings of wildlife such as egrets, great blue herons, or a variety of ducks. And paddling along a sleepy southern river wouldn’t be complete without the live oaks hanging over the river’s banks, splashed with Spanish moss. Canoeing and kayaking are great family activities.
2001 - National Safe Boating Council (NSBC)
The NSBC’s mission is to be the foremost coalition to advance and promote a safer recreational boating experience through education, outreach and training. The role of NSBC is to promote safe and enjoyable boating through education, training and shared resources. The NSBC constituency is the recreational boating community and general public. The NSBC provides safe boating materials, resources, tools, creative messages, training of instructors, education, and leads the annual safe boating awareness campaign. Goals: Improve boater behavior through education, awareness, and training to make recreational boating a safe and enjoyable experience by reducing boating accidents. Expand and enhance effective safe boating outreach. Expand and enhance boating safety education resources. Expand and enhance training programs.
2000 - USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK)
USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. For your convenience USA C/K also maintains an office in Charlotte, North Carolina. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USACK is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and an official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USA Canoe/Kayak include Dragon Boat, Freestyle, Marathon, Paracanoe, Wildwater, Outrigger, Polo, Canoe Sailing and Stand Up Paddleboard.USA Canoe/Kayak offers athletes the opportunity to win Olympic medals in up to 16 events, the 6th most of any sport. So whether you are just getting into paddling or have been for many years, you have an opportunity to represent your country in the sport we love.
1999 - Terris, Pravlik & Millian
Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP is a public interest law firm dedicated to providing the highest quality legal services to those who cannot afford to pay usual attorneys’ fees. Established in 1970, Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP began as the Law Offices of Bruce J. Terris. Since its establishment during the early days of the environmental movement, our firm has become a leader in the litigation of environmental issues on behalf of individual citizens, neighborhood groups, national environmental organizations and governments. The firm has also established itself as a leader in the litigation of employment and civil rights litigation representing individual and groups denied fair employment, fair housing, voting rights, medical care, religious accommodation and reasonable accommodation for disabilities.
1998 - Dagger / Joe Pulliam
Those that know kayaking and canoeing know Dagger. Our goal is to represent everything that’s great about getting on the water, from the technical aspects of rec and touring to the pure rush of whitewater. This shows in the variety of people that are proud to call Dagger home, and our wide-ranging product line. From the mountains to the sea, you’ll see us around, always pushing to master moving water better than the day before. We’re a company that started in a small shop with a dirt room floor. A few paddling buddies working tirelessly to kickoff a young paddling industry doing what they loved. Look at us today, and we are proud we haven’t really changed a heck of a lot from those core principles. The faces are different, and the family is growing, but it’s still just a group of people who love to paddle and build boats that others love to paddle.Today, Dagger provides the best quality for the money you’ll find anywhere. All of our products are put through the ultimate test known to man – approval by Team Dagger, who boasts well known names such as Tao Berman, Brad Ludden, and Andrew Holcombe. Dagger owners know that their kayak didn’t go into production until it met the standards of our amazing design team, and took the beating of a lifetime by our team paddlers.
1997 - Heidi Krantz
1997 - Jim Thaxton
Jim Thaxton were the first to offer canoe rentals on the Main Licking River in Kentucky in 1980. He is the recipient of the Outfitting Industry’s highest award — The Frank A. Jones Outstanding Outfitter Award in 1987. Jim served on the board of directors of the Professional Paddlesports Association, the American Canoe Association, and the American Recreation Coalition and has received numerous awards and certificates of recognition from these organizations. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Paddlesports International.
1996 - Subaru of America
The American Canoe Association is proud to count Subaru of America among its corporate sponsors. Subaru is the official vehicle of the ACA. As part of Subaru’s support for the association, ACA members are eligible to participate in the Subaru VIP Partners Program. VIP Partners participants can save up to $3,300* off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (depending on model and equipment selected) on the purchase or lease of any new Subaru from participating dealers. This discount is available to all eligible ACA members. No haggling is required. Now that’s a member benefit! In addition to providing discounts to ACA members, Subaru is partnering with your ACA to support the ACA’s stewardship and conservation programs. When an ACA member purchases a vehicle through the VIP Partners Program, Subaru makes a contribution to support ACA’s stewardship work, providing the organization with much-needed resources for protecting our nation’s waterways Subaru of America understands, as should all manufacturers, that it has a great responsibility to the environment. But clean vehicles are just one part of it. Learn what we’re doing to keep the world clean and beautiful. In 2004, our Subaru of Indiana manufacturing plant became the first automotive assembly facility to be “zero landfill,” meaning all waste is recycled or turned into electricity. In other words, a single-family home produces more waste in a day than our SIA plant does in a year.
1994 - U.S. Coast Guard Boating Education Branch
Our Vision. As an agency of the Federal government and a servant of the public, the U.S. Coast Guard, in its role as the designated National Recreational Boating Safety Coordinator, is a leader in improving the boating experience of the maritime public. We are an organization noted for working in partnership with all stakeholders within the waterways activity spectrum and across all modes of transportation to reach consensus solutions. We measure our success by our customer satisfaction, and our customers’ needs help define our workload and priorities. Our Mission. To minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental impact associated with the use of recreational boats, through preventive means, in order to maximize safe use and enjoyment of U.S. Waterways by the public.