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Do-over! New election held for Wildwater Committee Chair


by Michael Beavers
USA Wildwater C-1
Member, USAWildwater Committee

December 3, 2003 -- Atlanta, GA

After an error by Yours Truly, who didn't place Mike Beck on the ballot for the Chair position, the U.S. Wildwater Committee has nullified the votes for the Chair position only, and is soliciting USACK members to cast votes once again.

To make sure everyone has plenty of time to vote, we have extended the deadline to Tuesday, December 30th. Instructions for emailing your vote for either Mike Beck or John Pinyerd as Wildwater Committee Chair appear at the bottom of this article.

The winner will be announced just after the New Year, once we have had time to verify the USACK numbers and tally the final vote.

Please read the instructions carefully and follow them, or your vote will not be counted--without exception.

We do not have the resources to follow up with individual voters or count dimpled and hanging chads. Even if your vote was counted successfully last time, you must vote again.

Any current USACK member is eligible to cast a vote for the final nominees in the last contested position.

Position

Nominee Nominated by: Seconded by:
Chair


John Pinyerd
Michael Beck
Chris Hipgrave
Michael Beck
Ben Sandiford
Bob Bofinger

The U.S. Wildwater Committee thanks Ed Gordon for standing for the West Coast Athlete Rep election. He recently contacted the Committee to withdraw his name from the ballot with excellent form. We look forward to your continued excellent involvement, Ed.

The following are elections that have completed. The outgoing Wildwater Committee offers congratulations to the 2004-2005 voting members:

Vice Chair

Ben Sandiford
Treasurer

Chris Hipgrave
Events & Programs

Chris Wiegand
Newsletter & Rankings

Martin Bay
East Coast Athlete Rep

Tyler Dyer
West Coast Athlete Rep Tom Wier

The election will be conducted via email to reduce the costs incurred. Please email your choice of candidates to michael.d.beavers@gmail.com, along with your USACK number. Emails sent to other addresses, or that do not contain your current USACK number, will be treated as spoiled votes and discarded.

Emails must be received at this address by 6pm on Tuesday, December 30th.

Following this date the votes will be compiled, and USACK numbers submitted to the USACK office to check the membership status of each voter. All current USACK members are eligible to vote in these elections, whether you have indicated a preference for wildwater on your USACK membership or not.

The following are candidate statements which voters may use to guide their decisions.

John Pinyerd:
I love Wildwater (WW) and want to help the sport. I am not on the current WW board but agreed to be nominated at the request of several folks. I want your vote for Chairman and will work hard for you, the team, and the development of the sport. I believe that I have the desire, skills and experience to make a difference.

I've been active in sports my whole life. As a paddler, I've raced Slalom and WW for a total of two decades. I know the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and how to help folks along in various stages of their paddling career. I raced slalom in the mid 80's and also had top ten level finishes in C-2 and C-1 at the '92 Slalom Olympic Team Trials. But Wildwater is my true love and I have been blessed:
- 8 time US Team Member with many top 20 finishes in international competition
- Bronze Medal in International Competition (1988 C-2 Team Run)
- Finished 11th overall in C-1 in the 91 World Cup Series with a top 5 finish on the Ocoee.
- Won WW Nationals and Team Trials 5 times each and have dozens of medal finishes in National Competition.
- 2nd at this years Team Trials/Nationals and 14th overall in C-1 at the World Cups.

Note: I was just grateful to be able to compete and look forward to the day when the team is too strong for me to be able to earn a berth.

In my professional career, I am the Regional Sales Manager for Dart Transit, one of the nation's largest trucking companies. I know firsthand the art of world-class communication, selling, developing, and implementing strategic plans. A nice perk of the job is that I am frequently in Charlotte, NC (home of USACK and Vice Chair Ben Sandiford) as well as in Western NC (home of 2 other board members). Living in Atlanta also gives me the opportunity to work on website development and communications with Martin Bay.

In my personal life, I have also been blessed by being married for 25 years (Lynn is a teacher and personal trainer). We have 3 grown children (one has graduated from the University of GA, one is a Junior at GA Tech, and our youngest is a Junior in High School).

A couple thoughts on a couple issues:
Communication - Without a doubt, our communication needed to be improved. That's why as a WW athlete I requested and got a meeting between the board members who were at Kernville and the athletes. I also worked very hard to put together an email list so that we could communicate better and have sent out any information that I thought would be helpful. It is pretty obvious that I communicate openly and believe in publishing agendas, keeping all meetings open, and sending out meeting notes. Please note that I'm disappointed that some folks may have used the email list that I worked so hard to put together as a vehicle to take shots. I am excited about the opportunities we have with in using our website to communicate a plethora of information as well as improving our links to USACK and others.

Working with USACK and Others - I spent a weekend away from home (along with 5 other devoted WW types) attending the USACK board meeting on my own dime and took the time to type my notes, solicit input from others, and gain approval from Dave Mason (the USACK Board member who represents our sport), and then distribute them. It was great to see old friends at the USACK meeting, to get a feel for what is going on, and to try and insure continuity by working with the incoming/outgoing WW board members. I was also excited about an opportunity that grew out of the meeting .... a USACK Sprint Team Member will donate training boats for Atlanta, if I can find a place to house them...and I am exploring opportunities with a local high school rowing club.

Growth and Development - Growth without a doubt is a huge challenge. I would encourage all of us to recruit our friends, neighbors, and other paddlers to the sport..... and please, attend the races and training camps. I am extremely encouraged by the number of new Juniors that are paddling WW as this is our future. There are lots of races in the Southeast THAT ARE ON CLASS II whitewater including one race that was specifically aimed at Juniors. PLEASE ATTEND THEM AND BRING YOUR FRIENDS. Obviously, I intend to insure that we publish information on any local WW Races/Training Camps that we can.

It also makes sense also to have races like Nationals on class 2-3 whitewater and near a large population center to help insure as many participants as possible. This year it probably DID make sense to focus on racing in Kernville because of the World Cup Races.

Nuff said.... We have the opportunity to help a really cool sport. I'd like to be the WW Chairman and will take all the help I can get. I'm looking forward to working with you and for our sport.


John Pinyerd
jpinyerd@usawildwater.com
770-977-7603
Mike Beck:
I am expressing an interest in running for the position of Chair Person. If anyone else agrees that I am able to do some good for the US Wildwater organization please know that I will accept your nomination and will work hard to bring about positive changes. To make things legal here is my USACK Number 101874.

I am currently in Germany training with some of the best paddlers and I have seen how the Germans organize things. I know that there is a lot that can be done to improve Wildwater in the US and that we can learn a lot from the Europeans but because of the size of the US we will have to be that much more organized. We do not need to reinvent the wheel; there are systems out there that are working we just need to put them to work here. The two major changes that need to be done right away are communication and support of athletes and events.

Knowledge is power and with communication our athletes will have knowledge. Simple changes in existing structure can make huge differences. If our website is kept up to date with information for the athletes as well as the general public our sport can grow. A regular e-mail newsletter to members informing them on new issues, events and ideas can increase participation.

Event organizers would benefit from these changes as well because they would be able to gain support from our members and the public.

I believe that we could increase our exposure by supporting the local races and creating Wildwater classes in existing races and by helping creating new venues for competition to bring our sport to the public.

With the help and energy from other members I believe that things can turn around in the US for the best. We should look to the exceptional job that Kern River Valley did organizing the World Cups events and realize the potential we have to develop world-class athletes and events.

I see the Chair and the committee as the driving force behind the changes for Wildwater. But they can only be successful with the help from the members. These are the people that the committee should be serving. I believe the more people who are ACTIVE in the committee of Wildwater the further this energy of change will go. This would be one of my goals; to get more people involved in the activities of the committee and make the committee agenda and goals public knowledge. I feel that every member should know what the goals are that the committee is working on and if they don’t agree with what is going on they should have a say. In the past when there was communication going on and members knew what was happening things ran smooth. This is important so that when there are elections and new people take office there is continuity, things don’t get lost and the energy doesn’t die down and have to be jump-started again every few years.

My main goal is to get a Wildwater Community of paddlers, race organizers, volunteers, family members and friends working and playing together, to grow the sport and make it accessible to all who would like to paddle. Presently I see activity from those who have raced in the past few years, it is the same paddlers not a strong community. How can we change this? One way to attract more people to the sport is to hold races on less intimidating rivers. Wildwater races do not need to be held on Class IV and V rivers where only a handful of athletes feel confident enough to paddle. Races can and are held in Europe on Class I and II flat-water rivers where anyone can race. The aggressive “hairraces” will always be there for those athletes who want to test their skills, but they are not the races that will help develop a Wildwater community and therefore not be the races that the committee spends all or most of their resources and energy promoting. Holding races on Class II & III Rivers makes them marketable to more people, racers and spectators.

Another way to help create this community is to further develop the US Team. By this I believe we should give the team members the respect and the responsibility they have earned by being the best paddlers in the US. The committee should work on giving the team athletes the chance to be our ambassadors of the sport. They should be attending Tradeshow, public engagements and promote the sport. It should be known that the team athletes are racing at certain events and publicize it to get the publics attention. Team athletes should be working on attracting new paddlers to the sport. Currently our team is not really a team, it is a group of individuals who attend races and that is all, we need to support the team more.

Youth development must be a major focus, if we can get more youth paddling then their parents and other family members will come into the sport as well. There are already great youth groups out there that we should be working with to develop a strong base of young paddlers to help carry our sport further. For instance the Boys and girls clubs of America, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the YMCA, these groups are always looking for new opportunities to offer to their members and we should be able to work together.

COMMUNICATIONS MUST BE FREE-FLOWING! My goal is to reach as many people as possible. To get the event schedules set by the end of the year for the next season so people can plan on where and what events they can travel to. This is done in Europe; the race schedule is published by Dec/Jan. So that everyone can plan his or her season in advanced.

The website should be utilized more for example to: · Publish Event Schedules
· Publish race results
· Make General information Known
· Training tips
· Track training Progress compared with other athletes and analyzed by a trainer ·
Team Info/ what races and promotional events will team members be attending,
· Bios on the athletes
· Database of Volunteers, Coaches and Athletes list by their area so that if there are people who are interested in our sport they can find someone to help them start paddling Wildwater.

This is just a start. The list goes on and on. There is a lot that can be done and results will come quickly where in other areas where changes won’t be seen immediately as a foundation must be laid and it will take time to achieve. I believe it can be done we just need to stay focused and keep this energy going. If not me than by someone else, let’s just get it going.

If you feel the same way, I would appreciate your vote. If you do vote for me change will happen!

Mike Beck
wildemikeus@aol.com
If you really want to call here is our number in Germany: 001-49-178-4245958


Michael Beavers is the outgoing News Ediitor for the Wildwater Committee living in Atlanta, Georgia. Reach him at michael.d.beavers@gmail.com.

   

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