Club Recognition Program


The mission of USA Canoe/Kayak is “to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and other international competitions while promoting the growth of paddle sports in the United States.”

Chief Executive Officer, Joe Jacobi, Olympic Gold Medallist ’92 and the USA C/K Board of Directors have set forward “Grow the Base” as one of five goals for USA C/K. Growing the base will occur through a number of strategies, one of which is increasing the number of affiliated clubs offering Sprint Canoe/Kayak and finding new ways to support the ones that already do.

Our strategies to achieve this goal are to develop new and innovative paths of access to competitive paddle sports while expanding our base of participation. Environment friendly canoe / kayak activities are a natural fit for all citizens in a community where there is a river, canal, lake or waterfront redevelopment project. Now add the opportunity to be part of the USA Olympic family of sports!

Communities across the United States are approaching USA Canoe Kayak for advice on how to start a sprint canoe and kayak club. This document provides both a blueprint to assist those interested in forming a new club and recognition levels of achievement for our existing clubs.

USA C/K recognizes its ultimate strength and potential is working with its present and future member clubs to build “a solid foundation for a strong, sustainable future.”

USA C/K values the efforts of its affiliated clubs across the country in their efforts to provide quality paddle sport activities to their community. A Club Recognition Program has been established as a guide to assist communities in forming a new club but also to set “best practice” standards and “incentives” for our present clubs.

Our present member clubs vary in mission, governance, size and type of venue in delivering services to their membership, community and the National Governing Body (NGB). A review of “best practices” within USA C/K current clubs demonstrates a wide range of deliverables.

To give a community a blueprint to form a local canoe and kayak program USA C/K Club Recognition Program (CRP) examined its present member clubs under four criteriaclub management, programs offered, community outreach and safe sport practices. 

The Club Recognition Program identifies associated evidences under the four criteria by which clubs are structured and how they function. The evidences demonstrate the range and depth of services a particular club supports its membership, local community and the NGB.

The CRP identifies three levels USA C/K Member Clubs can strive to achieve – Club Level – Level 1, Premier Club – Level 2 and Premier Gold Club – Level 3.

Club Level - Level One - a member Club has the minimum standards in order to provide its membership a quality paddle sport experience within a safe and supportive environment

Premier Club - Level Two - a member Club has the Club Level standards in place while offering substantially more programming to its membership, local community and the National Governing Body.

Premier Gold Club - Level Three – a member Club has all of the evidences in place for the Club Level and the Premier Club Level but are leaders amongst their peer organizations and are engaged with their membership through the depth and scope of its programming, community outreach initiatives and production of National Team high performance coaching and athletes. 

To download the Background in its entirety click here.


This section contains examples for a Club to use in establishing their own. USA Canoe/Kayak encourages all Clubs to forward “forms” used in connection with any of the criteria and evidences presented in this Club Recognition Program handbook. All appendices can be downloaded. 

Appendix # 1

Constitution / By Laws Template

Appendix # 2


Appendix # 3

New Member

Appendix # 4

National Development Programs

Appendix # 5

Partner / Club Agreement

Appendix # 6

Equity Policy Statement

Appendix # 7

Equity Action Plan

Appendix # 8

Coaching Education Programs

Appendix # 9

Athlete Development Model

Appendix # 10

Barton Bantams Awards Program

Appendix # 11

Fitdex Testing Protocols

Appendix # 12

Athlete Commitment Team

Appendix # 13

Risk Assessment Form

Appendix # 14 a,b,c (three separate documents)

Codes of Conduct – Athlete / Staff

Appendix # 15   

Travel Form