Friday, April 25, 2014

Grant Update: Going the Distance for Paddlesports Education

This post comes straight to you from T.J. Turner, ACA Paddlesports Training Grant Coordinator. T.J. is currently managing a U.S. Coast Guard-funded grant focused on increasing high-quality ACA certified paddlesport instruction across the United States.
ACA IT Michael Shugg demonstrates proper boat fit for his class in AL.
Since the launch of the "Expansion of On-Water Paddlesport Instruction" grant project in September 2013, we have worked in Hawaii, Oregon, California, Florida, Alabama, Texas, and Puerto Rico. To date, more than 55 new instructors have been certified, and we're only halfway through the grant!

All the instructor candidates have diverse backgrounds and deep connections within their communities, allowing the ACA to increase its outreach. So far, we've had the opportunity to work with the education and community outreach departments for the Department of Land and Natural Resources in Hawaii, the Alabama Marine Police, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Florida Wildlife Commission, the Clackamas Sheriff Marine Division in Oregon, various schools and educational facilities in each state, and we've made a lasting impression in Puerto Rico.
Instructor candidates living it up paddling in the heart of San Juan, PR!
Instructor candidates will be able to take what they've learned during the grant courses and immediately incorporate it into their curriculums. For example, the law enforcement groups who participate in boater education now have more tools and paddlesport knowledge to use when dealing with human-powered vessels. The law enforcement and nonprofit groups can begin to offer Smart Start and Paddlesmart programs in a more effective manner to large groups. The camp staff now have new ways to reach out to the community to share the ACA mission with young paddlers.

We are currently scheduled to have all the grant courses completed by June 13, 2014--way ahead of the September 30, 2014, grant deadline. 

Many thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard for making it all possible, and to all the instructor trainers and instructor trainer educators that conducted these courses as well as the course hosts for their hospitality!
ACA ITE Sam Drevo demonstrates proper boat fit near the Clackamas River.

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