Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't miss the ECCKF!

Join staff from the ACA National Office at the East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival, April 17-19 in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Be sure to stop by during our ACA Social on Saturday evening, April 18th from 5 to 6pm: Learn about the latest plans for the ACA’s new National Paddlesports Center, discuss our new stewardship initiatives, tell us about your local paddling club’s needs, take home the latest paddlesports safety information, or simply sit back and enjoy the live music, refreshments, and festive atmosphere.
The East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival is hosted by the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission and the ACA is a presenting sponsor of the event.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Home sweet home

Conceptual design, National Paddlesports Center

Many of you know that the ACA moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia just over one year ago. The motivation was the opportunity to build the new National Paddlesports Center on sweet piece of property near the historic Rappahannock River. 

While the new facility will serve as our national headquarters, it is much more than that. Designed by architect Maynard Ball (a key architect in the US Fish & Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia), the center will be a hub for all ACA programs--from paddlesport safety to waterway stewardship. 

In these difficult economic times, we do not undertake this project lightly. The National Paddlesports Center will act as a small catalyst for a larger regional ecotourism project in Celebrate Virginia, being developed by Silver Companies, by introducing critical infrastructure needs. After it opens, the center will attract thousands of visi
tors each year, supporting the local ecotourism economy.

Recently I had the chance to speak with Norm Bellingham, chief operating officer of the US Olympic Committee, and 1984 gold medalist in canoeing. He told me: “The pipeline to getting more youth involved in canoeing and kayaking is broken. The ACA is in a perfect position to fix that.” 

We couldn’t agree more. The National Paddlesports Center will serve as a magnet for youth and family participation in canoeing and kayaking. More importantly, it will include state-of-the-art training and education facilities for the disabled, as part of our Adaptive Paddling program.

We currently have the support of premier organizations like The Conservation Fund, Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, and Disabled Sports USA, as well as key legislators like Virginia Senator Edd Houck and Speaker Bill Howell. 

Of course, we need your support, as well. True, the National Paddlesports Center will be our place of business, but it will be a home for paddlers everywhere. As we embark on this bold vision, we hope you'll consider a one-time donation or recurring gift.

Kind regards,

Martin A. Bartels

Executive Director