January 2021 - Letter from ACA Executive Director - ACA

Jan 13, 2021

January 2021 – Letter from ACA Executive Director

Dear Members,

As we look back on 2020, it would be easy to focus on all the ways in which the pandemic disrupted our lives, but instead (and because I recently read an article about the mental health benefits of expressing gratitude), I’d like to express my appreciation for the following:

  • The small but mighty ACA staff, who despite being asked to do even more work with even fewer resources, stepped up and graciously persevered during a difficult and sometimes lonely year;
  • Our Board of Directors – all of whom have busy lives and full time “day jobs” but find time to devote to the ACA;
  • Our partners including the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the United States Coast Guard, the Outdoor Alliance, L.L. Bean, and others who help support our mission;
  • The myriad of volunteers – too many to be named – who keep our instructional curriculum relevant, who coach/officiate/organize and manage competitions, who advocate and fight for clean and accessible waterways and public land, who spoke at our first virtual conference, and who keep our grass roots efforts alive via roles such as State Directors; and
  • All ACA members – for your continued support of the ACA through your dues, donations, expertise, and time.

Because of you all, we are able to:

  • Support the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group which is formalizing a structure consisting of a steering committee who will guide overall strategy and will be supported by workgroups focused upon specific issue areas;
  • Design and build a fresh new website;
  • Reinvigorate a Paddle America Club networking group led by dedicated volunteer, Mike Shillinger; and
  • Provide coaching and other resources to our athletes who will be competing on the international stage in 2021, including the Tokyo Olympics.

As we emerge from the isolation of 2020, we look forward to a new year during which we can safely gather together for classes and workshops, races and training camps, river clean ups, and environmental advocacy efforts.

With gratitude,
Beth Spilman