September 30, 2001 -- Longmont, CO and Atlanta, GA
As one group of USACK Wildwater Committee members makes room for the next generation of administrative talent,
outgoing Chairman Scott Overdorf recently sat down with USAWildwater.com
to review his committee's term and to offer some advice for those
leading the critical next term through 2003. He is quick to mention
that the most progress has come from everyday, grass-roots support
from athletes and organizers.
<"The best progress we have seen over the last two years was in Junior
athlete participation and overall athletic growth within their
ranks," said Overdorf. "It takes a great deal of dedication
on the part of local race organizers, parents, trainers and coaches,
high schools, summer camps, and USACK Centers of Excellence, such
as the Bethesda Center of Excellence and the Nantahala
Racing Club, to make this happen."
Overdorf notes that Chris Norbury, Chris Hipgrave, Charles Albright
and Ted Newton have been particularly instrumental in developing
youth as well as hosting and organizing races and training camps.
"We simply need more people like them in Wildwater,"
he said. "The youth are the future of our sport and they
have really taken that to heart."
"The other area where we must maintain momentum is the distribution
of news and information on our sport in the U.S.," added
Overdorf. "Step one was to regularly distribute newsletters.
Now we have taken it a step further with a great new Website and
e-zine (USAWildwater.com), but the Wildwater community
will need to use the new resource to publicize races, training
camps, and tips for training for it to be an effective communications
medium," he said, noting further that this information has
to be "pushed upstream" from the race organizers, retired
elite athletes, and current racers for it to really have an impact.
Overdorf says that the new leadership will constitute an active administration,
given that there is a pending bid for the U.S. to host the 2003
World Cup Kernville, California. "We have a bid submitted
to the International Canoe Federation for the Kern River, which
offers a tremendous opportunity to showcase Wildwater in the U.S.
and build further participation," he added. Should the bid
be approved by the ICF, good organizational skills will be a must
for members of the committee.>
Overdorf notes that this athletic participation must come from highly skilled,
dedicated and well-coached young talent, and that the only way
to grow youth participation may be to create a more formal national
training program with coaching, individualized training plan development
and regular ongoing feedback on technique.
"All of these initiatives can be accomplished to a limited degree through
the dedication we have seen from Wildwater's volunteers,"
said Overdorf on a final note. "I really wish to impress
with the incoming leadership that the sport will gain so much
more if they bring fundraising talent and corporate support with
Editor's note: Thank you, Scott, and the other Wildwater Committee members for
a great term! We really look forward to seeing what the new team
Michael Beavers is editor of USAWIldwater.com and a C-1 Wildwater racer
training in Atlanta, Georgia. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.