State Director Program
State Director Program
As the nation’s oldest and largest paddlesports non-profit, the ACA has built a strong reputation on making the world a better place to paddle through numerous Education, Stewardship, Exploration, and Competition initiatives. As a national organization, it can be difficult to know all the paddling issues in every state. To that end, the ACA State Directors have volunteered to bridge the gap between paddlers on the ground and the ACA.
The mission of the State Director Program is to increase the effectiveness of the ACA at the state level by:
- Facilitating communication between paddlers and the ACA National Office
- Fostering community responsibility in protecting and preserving paddling environments
- Assisting others with acquiring the necessary skills to safely enjoy local waterways
- Promoting paddlesport competition at the local and state level
The ACA needs your help to support all paddlers accessing America’s waterways in a fun and safe manner. Everything we do is inspired by our passionate and dedicated members. Please reach out and connect with your state director or consider nominating yourself for an Executive Council position in an future state election.
The Outstanding State Director Award is presented to one or more State Directors each year for their contributions to enhancing paddlesports in their state.
2020 - Tennessee - Andrea White
Andrea White not only serves as a member and leader for the TVCC but also the ACA Tennessee State Director. She has worked countless hours for both organizations with the overarching goal of making paddling a fun, safe, and accessible activity.
Through her hard work, she has built and established relationships between all of the five Paddle America Clubs in Tennessee, stewardship initiatives – namely for the beautiful Nolichucky River to be designated as Wild and Scenic, worked closely with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to maintain a positive relationship with paddlers, and countless hours of work on developing COVID19 strategies when faced with the pandemic, she pivoted to continue to provide boater education and much, much more. It is not possible to truly convey the magnitude of your hard work, but we hope that this award expresses out gratitude for your amazing, impactful work as an ACA State Director!
2018 - Arkansas -Tom Burroughs
His main goal is to share any and all knowledge he has about the water. He gives so much to everyone. Never looks down on anyone for asking questions. He is extremely helpful to all who are willing to learn. Tom enjoys the water with boaters of all types, from beginners to far more experienced paddlers. He lives to teach. He reaches out to the paddling community – in Arkansas and nationwide – and volunteers his services. Folks look to him for guidance and trust him implicitly. Tom is renowned for his vast accumulation of resources, his accredited expertise, his active presence in the paddling world, and more than anything, his kindness to all.
2017 - New York - Mike Cavanaugh
Mike is the ACA’s New York State Director and holds an ACA Level 3 Instructor certificate with Adaptive Paddling and Trip Leader endorsements. He also instructs and leads trips for Atlantic Kayak Tours and the Adirondack Mountain Club. Over the past year, Mike has tirelessly advocated for positive public policy and stewardship based initiaivs to assist paddlers in his state. Mike is also the lead instructor for the David Fisher Upper Hudson Heroes, a kayaking program for disabled veterans.
2016 - Florida - Peg Phillips
Peg works with a dynamic Executive Council in Florida focusing on safety, education, competition, stewardship, and access for paddlers. Partnering with the National Office, the team facilitated the USCG Sustainable Paddlesports Education grant for Underserved Communities. In addition, an ACA sanctioned summer camp for at-risk youth included over 350 participants. Having grown up in the foster program in rural Georgia, Peg has a passion for working with youth and giving back to the community.Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew brought stewardship needs to the forefront, and several projects were completed during 2016. The Estero River was cleared of invasive species, debris, and fallen trees that created a hazard for paddlers. In the Tallahassee area, the Wacissa River Blueway was cleared of fallen debris. Projects along the Kissimmee River are on-going and part of the larger Everglades Restoration Program. An ACA sanctioned race was started – Calusa Palooza – providing competition for kayak, canoe, and SUP. This event was well attended and is slated to become an annual race. Peg serves on the Boating Advisory Council Non-Motorized Boat Working Group – representing Florida ACA members as policy is established by Florida legislature. As an L2 Kayak Instructor, Peg teaches with an emphasis on safety and fun! Peg provides no cost instruction to youth and their mentors in southwest Florida.
2015 - Arizona - Danielle Keil
While Arizona may never become a paddling Mecca, it does offer a multitude of paddling destinations and disciplines; from steep creeks, scenic rivers, lakes, to ponds with amazing skylines. One thing I’ve found however, is the lack of a paddling community statewide. Very few boaters know each other, and are only sticking to their core group. I’ve also found a challenge to those looking to start paddling, and not knowing or having the resources available to do so. As an ACA State Director, I would love to increase the ACA’s programs through multiple community outreach and stewardship programs, as well as hosting Quick start your canoe/ kayak programs during city events, to build and promote the paddling community with a safe and fun environment. At an early age, I was immersed in paddlesports, specifically whitewater rafting and kayaking, and quickly developed a desire to share my passion for the sports through education. By working with the Boy Scouts of America and various Outfitters, I have been able to reach both youth and adults nationwide by providing training in Kayaking, Canoeing, and safety courses such as Paddlecraft Safety and Safety Afloat. I’ve also been very fortunate to travel around North and South America for whitewater kayaking, where I’ve helped with multiple Stewardship projects and educated local communities on the importance on protecting watersheds and rivers.
2015 - Puerto Rico - Omar Ramos
I would like to promote the principles and safety related to SUP and kayaking while promoting the ACA not only as an organization but as a source of knowledge and support to paddlers.
I will continue enhancing the paddling community in Puerto Rico by providing education and promoting the ACA in events across teh Commonwealth. We at Paddle Paradise PR were the hosts of the USCG – ACA On-Water paddle sports instruction PR for SUP. We also promoted the ACA and safe paddling practices in the PR Outdoor Sports Show and been promoting the ACA in our daily operations.