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President’s Prattle


This January (2016) brought Paddle Canada’s Board of Directors together for 2 days in Toronto. Our focus?  Bring the Board together to strategize and work towards creating what Paddle Canada’s priorities should be for the next 3 years.

Each Director brought with them inspiration from listening to members they represent and had reached out to asking for their thoughts about things that make Paddle Canada work and what could be done to make it better.  We brought our own experience and evaluations to the table.  

What do we do that we should keep doing?  Are there things we should consider not doing any more?  What directions should have a higher priority or are new and should now be included in our overall plan?  From all this, a new 3 Year Strategic Plan is being developed.  The Board would like to thank Edge 3 for assisting with the process and channelling of ideas.

So, what were the highlights and areas of major focus we want you to know about now?

As a national association we remain there for you, our members.  Be assured of our continuing support by providing more resources and continuing promotion for instructor development – canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding inclusively. More Instructor and IT maintenance clinics were encouraged with the idea of combining these in conjunction with regional symposiums or gatherings.

A fresh focus on Quebec‘s paddling population will further strengthen Paddle Canada’s position as the national course provider in recreational paddle sports.  French language course manuals are currently being prepared with distribution expected this year and next. We are further encouraged by on-going talks with regional associations in this province regarding partnerships.

Youth.  The subject of youth came out of our talks as the Board’s brightest focal point.  Our cumulative desire is to inspire increasing numbers of Canada’s youth to get outdoors, pick up a paddle and learn how to safely play on our waters all with the idea of learning life skills veiled in the spirit of fun.  From this came the initiative to create a new Youth Committee specifically focussed on bringing all this about using multiple approaches.  Sponsorships, partnerships, new strategies…Universities, colleges, School Boards and youth associations.  If you have ideas and / or time to put towards this or if you have a desire to participate as a committee member please let us know.  Our members are the best for getting involved and volunteering in positive movement.

Membership for non-instructors (Skills students and former instructors who no longer instruct) is an area we want to address as it has been overlooked for too long.  We want to remain connected with these people.  Look for some novel, innovative ideas we are coming up with in the very near future for these paddlers to provide huge benefits to them as continuing members.

Lastly our Board recognized the need to provide more public recognition for the excellent work done by our professional and highly skilled instructors and members for all the great work they do on behalf of and in support of Paddle Canada.  Look for this to begin this year.  Now is my opportunity to simply say thank you for all you have done and contributed to the world of recreational paddling in 2015.

More information will be coming out over the next several months about new initiatives and ideas as they come on-line.  Please take the opportunity to know who represents you as a Director for your region and, if you ever have any questions about Paddle Canada and you, never hesitate to make contact and communication.  Expect a higher level of visibility and approachability from your regional Directors and representatives as member connectivity is a high priority for all the Board and Executive.

 I wish everyone all success with their plans for 2016.  I expect it to be one of the best years yet for Canada’s recreational paddlers.

Get inspired.  Be inspired. Inspire others.

mike gilbert


Mike Gilbert
President & BC Regional Director, Paddle Canada
[email protected]