Greetings from Fredericksburg!
I had an awesome time visiting the ACA headquarters. It was great to finally meet the staff members in person and it’s always great to connect with others who love the water as much as I do! If you get a chance to head down it is well worth the trip. The town itself was the boyhood home of George Washington and offers loads of colonial and Civil War historical goodness! My personal favorite spot was the Apothecary Shop as it was fascinating to see how much medicine has progressed since colonial times.
It was just as fun to join other members of the Safety Education and Instructional Council (SEIC) in two days of curriculum review and program promotion.
There are loads of cool new programs in the works including an increased focus on Trip Leader rather than Instructional tracks for each discipline focused on those who are just getting new people out on the water to provide an experience rather than developing teaching skills. The ACA is also leading the way in the continued growth of Standup Paddle Board (SUP) by piloting a new coastal track this Spring.
Focused on Safety, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Representative reported on the significant increase in drowning deaths as a result of the increase in SUP and Kayak Angling.
One of my goals is to deliver more entry level training on both of these sports so that people can understand essential gear like PFDs and be honest with their limits. The SEIC is reviewing the Level 1 curriculum for all disciplines so that these courses are more streamlined and truly focused on the essential skills to ensure a safe fun time on the water!
Please feel free to reach out to me if you are an instructor as I would like to better promote all learning opportunities in our state. Also, if you are interested in sharing your love of paddling with others and would like to become an ACA Instructor let me know and I will help connect you to our diverse network of Instructor Trainers.
See you on the water,
Steve the Dark Beard