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The Role of a Director

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The Paddle Canada Board of Directors is comprised of elected paddling instructors from across the country. Our Board is as diverse as the watercraft we paddle, with the commonality we all share: a passion for paddling and sharing that love of paddling with others. 

Our role is to collectively pilot the mothership known as Paddle Canada. Imagine a Big Canoe loaded with 13 paddlers who all are qualified to sit in the stern seat. First, we need to agree on our destination and then we each need to choose our paddle to get the job done. We each contribute with our own skills and experience to the success of the Paddle Canada journey. It is no easy task as Canada is a very vast and diverse country. 

Our job is twofold- First, we wear our national hat in which we put Paddle Canada first. We take on projects, debate policy, and direction, and make decisions on what we think is in the best interest of Paddle Canada. 

And secondly, we have the regional hat that we wear to represent paddling instructors from our Province or Territory. Each of our regions is a mix of Canoe, Sea Kayak, Whitewater Kayak, Stand-Up Paddleboard, and Camping Instructors, of which some are casual instructors, or part-time instructors, or career instructors all fueled by their passion for sharing paddling with others. It is this shared passion that unites us in many ways but at times can really challenge us, as we need to put our own passion aside and stay on course with the mother ship.

Every few years the Paddle Canada Board comes up with a Strategic Plan- the next paddle adventure you could say and spends the next few years focusing on that adventure. Not all the challenges (rapids) are always identified before the start of the trip and our crew (the board) needs to surmount the challenges as they come up. Each of us has our own way of dealing with the challenge based on our own experiences, skill sets, and knowledge, that often the real challenge is not so much the solution but which solution to go with. There is no right or wrong solution, eventually, we need to pick one and embrace it. Much like picking a campsite for the evening.  Our goal as the board is to keep the board and all the instructors within our regions somewhat happy with the adventure and our campsites along the way.

This past year were faced with an entirely new challenge- COVID-19.  The only way to put it in paddling terms would be a new river hazard that no had ever seen before. We needed time to assess the danger, time to come up with a plan and time to implement the plan. It may not have been perfect but from I have heard we at Paddle Canada have collectively kept paddlers across the country safe this past season. People were still paddling, still taking courses and still embracing our wonderful waterways. We may not have been paddling where we wanted or with who we wanted to paddle but we were still paddling.   I have not heard of any COVID cases coming out of a paddling adventure. That is something we should all be proud of. 

Sitting on the Paddle Canada board is much the same and I can assure you that everyone on the board is there to share their passion for paddling with others. If you have feedback, ideas, or comments please connect with your region’s Paddle Canada Board member and we will do our best to bring them to the mothership.  We the Board would like to wish you all many paddling adventures in 2021.

Trevor Braun, Director Yukon

If you are interested in becoming a Paddle Canada Director, please review the nomination process. Positions coming up for Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories.