(Frank Havens during the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games, in which he won the gold medal. Credit: Jim and Linda Ross)
USA Canoe/Kayak recently announced Karla Westcott of the Wausau Canoe/Kayak Corp. and Jim Ross of the Washington Canoe Club as inaugural recipients of the Havens Leadership Award.
The award recognizes practices and behaviors that best serve the interests and success of USA Canoe/Kayak by improving performance, creating efficiencies or enhancing quality within the sport. The winners were selected by the USA Canoe/Kayak Board of Directors after a nomination process among USA Canoe/Kayak members.
In October 2012, Westcott was named as USA Canoe/Kayak liaison to the 2014 ICF Slalom World Championships in Deep Creek, Maryland. In July 2012, she served as competition manager for the 2012 ICF Junior/Under-23 Slalom World Championships in Wausau, Wis. She is also the chair of the USA Canoe/Kayak Slalom Governance Committee and was a slalom judge at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Ross competed at the international level for many years, representing clubs in Yonkers, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Washington Canoe Club, where he has organized training camps, built docks, and worked to preserve the club’s historic building. Through his work with the Washington Canoe Club, currently the oldest in the country, he has served as an unofficial historian and link to the Havens and other Olympic paddlers on the East Coast. His sons, Ian and Gavin are elite U.S. Senior and Junior level athletes, respectively.
Westcott and Ross will each receive a trophy, Hobie sunglasses, and a cash award to support local paddling projects in their respective communities.
The award honors the achievements of the Havens family. Charles “Bud” Havens competed in canoe/kayak when it was a demonstration sport at the Paris 1924 Summer Olympic Games, winning four medals. Bill Havens Sr. was also invited to the 1924 Games, but relinquished his seat on the team.
Bill Havens Jr. was invited to the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games before they were cancelled. Both Bill Havens Jr. and Frank Havens competed in the London 1948 Olympic Games, with Frank winning Silver in the C1 10,000m. Frank claimed Gold in the C1 10,000, at 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland before finishing fourth and eighth at the next two Olympic Games.
Frank’s son, Dan Havens, served as a volunteer Board member for the Washington Canoe Club for more than 30 years. Bill’s son, Keith Havens, started a canoe club in Michigan, while another son, Kirk Havens, has volunteered for the American Canoe Association for several years.
Click HERE to learn more about the Havens.
Karla Westcott, Wausau Canoe/Kayak Corp.: “Years ago during a discussion with a colleague from the world of Canoe Slalom, we spoke of the people involved in the sport who are in it for the sport as opposed to those who are there for the shirt - the t-shirt or polo shirt which is given to officials and volunteers at most events. As someone who has always been for the sport, I am overwhelmed and humbled at being chosen as one of the inaugural recipients of the Havens Award. The commitment shown by the Havens family’s support and participation in the sport through multiple generations has truly been an inspiration all of us. We can't thank the Haven family enough for their dedication to the sport.”
Jim Ross, Washington Canoe Club: “When I got the phone call from [USA Canoe/Kayak Board Chairman] Bob Lally telling me that I was selected as one of the first recipients of the newly established Havens Leadership Award, I was stunned. I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected. USACK has a solid core of dedicated staff and leadership but it would not prosper without its volunteer base. The Havens Leadership Award means giving back to the sport in any way you can. If you can’t run as a volunteer for National office then volunteer at your club. Can’t volunteer at your club? Help run a race. Can’t do that? Then cut someone a check and help out the sport in that way. There is so much to do and so many opportunities to move the sport forward but in ways large and small we all need to contribute. Do what you can, when you can, where you are.”
“I’ve known the Havens family for over forty years as my dad had raced ‘back in the day’ against Frank and Bill. Later, my brother’s and I raced against their sons. To me, the Havens family has emboldened the concept of leadership. Frank and Bill were both exceptional athletes and provided important leadership. However, Frank and Bill also were volunteers in their clubs and on the national canoe scene for many years.”
Bob Lally, USA Canoe/Kayak Board of Director’s Chairman: “First and foremost I want to thank the Havens’ family for allowing USA Canoe/Kayak the privilege of using their name to honor our volunteer leaders with this Annual Havens Leadership award. USA Canoe/Kayak’s goal no. 4 is ‘Empower Bold Leadership’ and the Havens leadership award represents our steadfast dedication to recognize our best. This was our first year recognizing the significant achievements across our enterprise and I have to say the work our folks are doing day in and day out is impressive and the nominations reflect that passion. The two winners - Karla Westcott and Jim Ross - are true ambassadors to our sport and we are honored. They both live the spirit of true volunteerism and love of community every day. On behalf of our board, I want to say great job and thank you to Karla and Jim. I also want to extend my hand out to the other nominees and say, ‘well done’. In Navy terms ‘Bravo Zulu’ – you are all the heart and soul of sport.”
USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.