Paddle Now!

Dec. 12, 2011, 11:02 p.m. (ET)

Today we, the Board of Directors, invite everyone to join us for the formal announcement of USA Canoe/Kayak’s relocation to Oklahoma City and the launch of a new era in paddle sports in America. During our day, we will be conducting Roundtable Discussions and Live Video Streaming. The interviews, videos and roundtable discussions by USA Canoe/Kayak executive leadership and guest commentators will be streaming live from the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower on the beautiful Oklahoma River. 

In addition, USA Canoe/Kayak proudly announced yesterday that the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trial for Whitewater Slalom is going to be held at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on April 12-14 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

With these significant announcements and as we move forward to London and beyond, we are optimistic, determined and excited to maintain our long term relationship with Charlotte, NC and all our existing partners.  In addition, we are looking forward to breaking new water with new partners and associations. 

As a reminder, USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. We govern the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and sanction Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. In addition, as the sport prepares for inclusion at the 2016 Paralympic Games, we are proud to partner with adaptive programs such as Team River Runner. I can easily see the Para Canoe discipline being part of our team in the very short future. 

Knowing that, we have a new mission statement: Our Mission shall be to enable United States athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and other international competition; and to promote and grow paddlesports in the United States.

Our Campaign: 

Paddle Now! The Marines has their Semper Fi, the Army has their hooraah and now USA CANOE/KAYAK has Paddle Now! This is who we are and firmly believe this can be our rallying call. Start saying it and it will become contagious.

Our priorities/goals as we move forward to London and beyond:

1.    Fund the Mission: We need to generate the resources required for us to achieve our mission and goals.

2.    Grow the Base: We have to develop new and innovative paths of access to competitive paddlesports that will expand our base of participation.

3.    Achieve Sustained International Competitive Success: Bottom line – we will win medals at premiere international events.

4.    Empower Bold Leadership: This is the key to success and THE most critical priority. We must set high standards for our performance and sport culture, founded in a strategy and structure that coordinates, collaborates, and empowers leadership at all levels of our sport. In future Blogs and other media outlets, we will expand on this critical goal. We will set up a conference call in January with our committee/discipline leadership to outline how we will define the roles and responsibilities of leadership positions at all levels in the sport (e.g. clubs, committees, etc.), determine objectives and expectations and recognize and foster leadership within the sport.  

5.    Expand Global Presence and Influence: We will be a strong partner in the international paddlesports community. 

We are fortunate to be with the USA Canoe/Kayakj organization. What we are doing is real and exciting. We are determined to succeed and put Paddlesports on the map equal to the most recognized Olympic sports. As your new Chairman of the USA Canoe/Kayak Board of Directors please know we, your Board of Directors, are 100% committed to this enterprise to ensure success, we will be transparent in all our deliberations, our door is open and we are available. To be upfront we, the staff and board, need to hear from you on what is working, what is not working and what needs to be accomplished. I firmly believe we are all doing this together, we are passionate about our sport, we can make a difference and improve plus at the same time as we journey together make the tough calls, right decisions, appreciate differing opinions and enjoy each other’s friendship.  

Paddle Now,

Bob Lally