2017 President’s Message

12/07/2016 10:17 AM | Anonymous

2016 was a great year for Colorado Whitewater in so many ways. 2017 looks to be shaping up nicely, as well. 

The 2016 CW board of directors was an energetic crew who took on a number of new projects in addition to all the standard awesomeness of our instruction program, social events, and river events. CW 2016 Access and Conservation Director Lauren Nance took over the monumental task of organizing the South Platte River Cleanup in April. The event was a raging success with one of the highest levels of participation and even 9News coming to cover the story. More than 200 people showed up to remove about two tons of trash from the river, including items such as shopping carts, baby strollers, and more plastic bottles than you can imagine. Denver Beer Company hosted the after-party, there was a ton of great schwag, and all participants got a commemorative T-shirt. 

CW plans to take the lead on organizing the event (along with a number of terrific sponsors) again in 2017 under the direction of new Access and Conservation Director, Tim Friday. Tim is very passionate about the Peaks to Plains Trail project and how it affects the Clear Creek corridor. He’s already working with Jeffco to provide feedback from the whitewater community.

Bailey Fest was started in 2010 by front range paddler Ian Foley and proceeded to grow in size and popularity up until a few wet summers kept the tunnel closed. Water through the Roberts Tunnel is earmarked for irrigation, and the use is tightly controlled. Getting the tunnel turned on for any reason other than to fulfill the requirements of downstream use and storage presents a challenge. Colorado Whitewater, the new organizer of the Fest, continues the mission to secure one weekend of recreational flows through the tunnel. This year, CW Safety Director Pete Bellande took up the organizational test and delivered a great fest. We look forward to Pete continuing in the role of safety Director in 2017 and coordinating the event again. 

2016 Cruise Director Jessie Gunter did a remarkable job of recruiting volunteers to lead trips for our members. The cruise schedule basically exploded with trips every single weekend! We’re counting on her to continue being awesome in 2017, too.

Instruction Director Dick Alweis improved the variety of courses offered at our winter and spring pool sessions at Meyers Pool in Arvada  and extended the instruction into the summer season. He’s planning to add some slalom and roll classes in 2017. If you’ve never taken a slalom class, you’ll be amazed at how the techniques translate to river running.

Some behind the scenes changes include the Spray Newsletter (Editor Gene Hakanson) updating to an electronic only format, adding an Insurance Director board position (Leslie Tyson), and phasing out the Competition (Jo Albers) and play boating board seats, although Dave Holzman will organize the Golden Rodeo again in 2017.

There were a number of board members who quietly moved mountains in 2016, people without whom this club would not function. Laurie Maciag, as Events Director, handled so many projects that we decided to split the position into two categories for 2017. Judy Thomas will be the new Social Events Director. She is already working on possibly adding a new movie screening event, and new River Events Director Brooke Smith will oversee the organization of on-water events, such as Poudre, Arkansas, and Colorado River Weekends. He is also working on coordinating with Peter Holcombe to make New Year’s Day on Shoshone a CW event!

You may not be aware of all the hard work contributed by some of the less visible board members. Patrick Tooley has been our legal advisor and voice of reason for a long time now, and April Hillman is the administrative genius in charge of membership. Merchandise Director Karen Moldenhauer has really improved the selection of cool CW wearables and cool goodies, as well as pitching in to help with about a zillion events. Advertising and Publicity Director Jodi Lee has been a tireless resource, forming partnerships and sponsorships and creating the messaging around everything we do. Jodi has also handled CW booth participation at festivals to increase our visibility to the whitewater community and always pitches in to help run events.

Secretary Kyla Kolbeck kept us on track and made board meetings super-efficient. She is handing the baton to Daniel Lundberg, who is already off to a good start even before our first board meeting. We are very fortunate that Jeremiah Krayna will be continuing in the role of treasurer, as he’s done an excellent job of managing our finances. At our October meeting, Jeremiah pointed out that we are well positioned to do something more to benefit our members and as a result, it was decided that we would offer more discounted Swift Water Rescue courses in 2017.

Scott Winkleman has done a tremendous job with the vast and never-ending responsibility of running our website for a long time now and is handing it off to Heidi Haas, who is well qualified due to her experience running the Chicago Whitewater website. I’ll organize Training Camp again, I’ve got it dialed in, and I love it!

A few months ago one of our board members told me they had worked with a number of nonprofits, but was especially impressed with how efficient and passionate the Colorado Whitewater board is. I was so thrilled to hear this perspective from someone who is relatively new to our community, and it caused me to reflect more than usual. I am really grateful to work with such a great group of people. We really are an amazing little gang. That being said, there are many amazing volunteers in this club, including instructors and trip leaders and people helping with events—everything from flipping burgers at Bailey Fest to running video cameras at Training Camp.

We will certainly have plenty of volunteer opportunities in 2017. If you’re interested in helping, you can contact board members in your area of interest or watch your e-mail and the Facebook groups for specific opportunities. Colorado Whitewater runs on 100 percent volunteer power. It’s a good feeling to be part of such a positive, giving, FUN community. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m looking forward to another awesome year!

Elizabeth Austen
President, Colorado Whitewater


Colorado Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  455 Sherman Street, Suite 300 Denver, CO 80203

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