AORE Partner News February 2015 - Page 4

Education (AORE) and NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation (NIRSA) are committed to cooperation in expanding education and training opportunities for our respective members who study and work in the field of outdoor recreation and education. Click here to view the full release. ACA Olympic Discipline Hires New CEO and Changes Long Term Strategy Oklahoma City, OK USA Canoe and Kayak (USACK), the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic paddlesports governing body is preparing for 22 men and women’s Canoe and Kayaking medal events at the 2016 Olympic (16 medals) and Paralympic (6 medals) games to be held in Rio De Janeiro. Last night USACK announced the new CEO and the shift in its strategy to recruit and develop paddling talent. The new strategy involves partnering with the American Canoe Association (ACA), which was formed in 1880 and is currently the oldest and largest paddlesports organization in the United States. The ACA was the Olympic paddlesports governing body from 1924 until the early 1990’s when the organization split. ACA committed to focus on recreational paddling, developing educational programs, stewardship, exploration, recreation and competition. USACK was formed to focus on elite competition such as the Olympics, Pan AM Games, and Paralympics. USACK’s Board Chair, Bob Lally, announced yesterday that ACA’s Executive Director, Wade Blackwood is the new Chief Executive Officer of USACK in addition to his ACA role. Paddlesports realize d when the ACA was splintered and USACK became a separate organization, the U.S. stopped winning Olympic medals. In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Scott Strausbaugh (gold), former USACK CEO Joe Jacobi (gold), Greg Barton (bronze), and Dana Chladek (Bronze) were the last three Americans to medal. Rebecca Giddens (silver) was the last American to medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Robert Lally, USACK Board Chair explained, “There is an old saying that if you continue doing the same thing over and over again, do not expect different results. When the ACA and USA Canoe/Kayak Team separated a lot of our canoe/kayak disciplines stopped competing at the highest international levels. In order to change our results and outcomes, we have to dynamically and strategically change the culture and direction of our nation’s paddling enterprise. Creating a partnership, once again, between the ACA and USACK is that dynamic and strategic change required for USA to compete at the highest levels in all canoe/kayak disciplines.” Sharing CEOs is a bit unusual but in this case it demonstrates unity in a relatively unique market. ACA’s Board Chair, Anne Maleady said, “Over the last 4 years the ACA has grown significantly by focusing on education and stewardship programs under Blackwood’s leadership. The shared CEO role has the opportunity to give the millions of Americans who engage in recreational and elite paddlesports the ability to find programs of interest under a common organization. Whether its stewardship activities or healthy competition; our organizations will offer something for paddlers of all abilities.”