Welcome Letter From Our New President

01/24/2018 6:23 PM | Deleted user

Dear members of Colorado Whitewater,

I am honored and excited to be CW’s new board President for 2018! Outgoing President Elizabeth Austen, who has also served as Training Camp Director for the last five years, worked tirelessly to ensure that 2017 was another great year for Colorado Whitewater. Guided by her vision and leadership, and supported by the hard work of our other volunteer board members, instructors, and general membership volunteers, we were able to achieve an INCREDIBLE amount.

Elizabeth put together a great summary of all the wonderful things with which the club was involved with in 2017, which she read shared at our Fall Dinner. I have included that list here, inserting a few additional accomplishments, and have added kudos to the CW board member or volunteer who was in charge of coordinating the event:

  •  Maintained our status as one of largest (and oldest!) paddling clubs in the country, with 650 active members -  211 of whom joined in 2017 (April Hillman)
  • Published 6 issues of The Spray, CW’s electronic newsletter. Past issues can be found here! (Gene Hakanson)
  • Collaborated with Peter Holcombe to support his New Years’ day paddle of over 100 people on Shoshone, followed by fun at Iron Mountain Hot Springs (Brooke Smith)
  • Hosted a really fun and successful Pizza and Beer social in February (Judy Thomas)
  • Hosted the National Paddling Film festival for our movie night in March (Judy Thomas)
  • Held another successful and well-attended Training Camp with clinics for all ability levels (Elizabeth Austen)
  • Added a swiftwater rescue clinic to Arkansas River Weekend (Pete Bellande)
  • Added a playboating clinic with pro kayaker Mat Dumoulin on the Glenwood Wave at Colorado River Weekend (Dick Alweis)
  • Hosted Spring Dinner with Stephen Wright and Fall Dinner with Tom Martin as our captivating speakers (Judy Thomas)
  • Supported the Golden Rodeo Series and added a free cook out to the event (Dave Holzman)
  • Had volunteers at booths representing CW at a number of whitewater festivals including CKS Paddlefest in BV and the Royal Gorge Festival (Jodi Lee)
  • Sponsored American Whitewater through a donation to Gore Fest (Pete Bellande)
  • Provided insurance for all special events including the Golden Rodeo, Training Camp, Flat Water Moving Water Weekend, which is the CW beginner students first weekend outside of the pool, and Bailey Fest (when there’s water!) (Leslie Tyson)
  • Collaborated with Pete, who did all the preparation for BaileyFest. Even though the flows did not support the event, the prep work still has to happen (Pete Bellande)
  • Collaborated with Daniel Barton, a volunteer board fellow from Leeds School of Business who ran the South Platte River Cleanup project on behalf of CW, where CW donated gloves, trash bags, t-shirts and a ton of volunteer power (Daniel Barton)
  • Maintained critical partnerships with local partners, secured sponsorships from a variety of companies to make CW’s events possible and affordable, and successfully advertised club sponsors and partners to members (Jodi Lee)
  • Donated 100 brand new slalom competition jerseys to the Dawson school canoe and kayak team for use this season when they host races, including the WWOCD (Whitewater Nationals), Wildwater Nationals, and the North American Open Canoe Slalom Nationals (Elizabeth Austen)
  • Made a monetary donation to the Park County Historical Society for the Bailey Put-In and McGraw Park maintenance (Patrick Tooley)
  • Provided input on the conceptual design for the Peaks to Plains trail segments that are to be built in the future, and are continuing to work with Jeffco Open Space on segment 1 from Tunnel one down (Tim Friday)
  • Sent a letter supporting getting grant money to pay for a boat chute on Homestake on the Arkansas River (Tim Friday)
  • Continued advocating for private boaters on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area’s Citizens Task Force and providing input on the AHRA Management plan (Mark Robbins and Leslie Tyson)
  • Continued to represent CW on the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholders Group, helping American Whitewater keep an eye on water resource management from Gore to State Bridge (Steve Dougherty)
  • Represented Whitewater recreation on the South Platte Enhancement Board (Scott Winkleman)
  • Offered a really robust cruise schedule, adding many more trips for all different ability levels (Jessie Gunter)
  • Held several cruises for the “Boating Betties”, a growing women’s paddling group (Elizabeth Austen and Heidi Hass)
  • Held three River Weekends at the Poudre, Arkansas, and Colorado Rivers (Brooke Smith)
  • Our Incredible Volunteer Instruction team taught about 50 total sessions at Meyers Pool between January and May (Dick Alweis and Nicole Harty)
  • Hosted instructional clinics for the Incredible Volunteer Instruction team members, given by Stephen Wright, Mat Dumoulin, Tommy Gram and Mike Mather (Dick Alweis)
  • Showed our appreciation for CW volunteers at Volunteer Happy Hour night, at which volunteers enjoyed free pizza, beer, and a creative and useful gift (Karen Moldenhauer and Judy Thomas)
  • Provided support for the Kids Program, through coordinating instructors and through the purchase of several children’s dry suits for use by Kids Team members, of which there were 22 (Jenny McCurdy)
  • Decided to explore the feasibility of supporting pool classes on the Western Slope through the creation of a new board position, West Slope Regional Coordinator (Laurie Maciag)

And this list doesn’t even recognize the contributions of the board members who worked behind the scenes to help us function as a board and as a club: Heidi Hass, who kept the website up to date and running; Jeremiah Krayna, who managed the club’s finances and budget; Daniel Lundberg, who organized each board meeting and recorded minutes; Karen Moldenhauer, who stored all of our merchandise and sold it at events; and Patrick Tooley, who provided legal support.

I would be remiss not to mention my gratitude towards the countless member-volunteers who lead cruises, teach or assist at the pool and at training camp, run check-in and help clean up at events, mentor newer boaters in an unofficial capacity, and spread the word about our awesome club.

We are beyond excited to welcome the following new board members in 2018:

  • Terra Hoover, Training Camp
  • Ruth Eipper, Cruise Director
  • Gail Tubbs, Treasurer
  • Lindsey Lavender, Spray Editor
  • Laurie Maciag (past President), West Slope Regional Coordinator

The rest of the board members will stay on to continue the amazing work they did in 2017. I am so grateful for each of these individuals and the time they dedicate to CW!

Suffice it to say, our members were involved with nearly all aspects of whitewater boating in Colorado and beyond in 2017. As President, I hope to help CW continue on this incredible trajectory. I feel immense pride at the quality and quantity of CW’s accomplishments over just the last year. Beyond the statistics about events and membership, countless friendships were formed and strengthened on and off the water as a result of members’ shared love of the river. We are truly a community, and I look forward to continuing to build community around our sport with your help!

 Colorado Whitewater is 100 percent volunteer powered. If you’d like to become more involved, feel free to email the board member in your area of interest (you can find their email addresses in the member directory on the website) or watch our social media profiles for news about upcoming events. Volunteers are ALWAYS needed.


Follow us on:

 Facebook (GROUP): Colorado Whitewater

Facebook (PAGE): Colorado Whitewater Association

Instagram: @coloradowhitewater


 Jessie Gunter, 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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