The Outstanding State Director Award is presented to one or more State Directors each year for their contributions to enhancing paddlesports in their state.
Florida - Peg Phillips
Peg works with a dynamic Executive Council in Florida focusing on safety, education, competition, stewardship, and access for paddlers. Partnering with the National Office, the team facilitated the USCG Sustainable Paddlesports Education grant for Underserved Communities. In addition, an ACA sanctioned summer camp for at-risk youth included over 350 participants. Having grown up in the foster program in rural Georgia, Peg has a passion for working with youth and giving back to the community.
Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew brought stewardship needs to the forefront, and several projects were completed during 2016. The Estero River was cleared of invasive species, debris, and fallen trees that created a hazard for paddlers. In the Tallahassee area, the Wacissa River Blueway was cleared of fallen debris. Projects along the Kissimmee River are on-going and part of the larger Everglades Restoration Program.
An ACA sanctioned race was started - Calusa Palooza - providing competition for kayak, canoe, and SUP. This event was well attended and is slated to become an annual race.
Peg serves on the Boating Advisory Council Non-Motorized Boat Working Group - representing Florida ACA members as policy is established by Florida legislature. As an L2 Kayak Instructor, Peg teaches with an emphasis on safety and fun! Peg provides no cost instruction to youth and their mentors in southwest Florida.
Arizona - Danielle Keil
While Arizona may never become a paddling Mecca, it does offer a multitude of paddling destinations and disciplines; from steep creeks, scenic rivers, lakes, to ponds with amazing skylines. One thing I've found however, is the lack of a paddling community statewide. Very few boaters know each other, and are only sticking to their core group. I've also found a challenge to those looking to start paddling, and not knowing or having the resources available to do so. As an ACA State Director, I would love to increase the ACA's programs through multiple community outreach and stewardship programs, as well as hosting Quick start your canoe/ kayak programs during city events, to build and promote the paddling community with a safe and fun environment. At an early age, I was immersed in paddlesports, specifically whitewater rafting and kayaking, and quickly developed a desire to share my passion for the sports through education. By working with the Boy Scouts of America and various Outfitters, I have been able to reach both youth and adults nationwide by providing training in Kayaking, Canoeing, and safety courses such as Paddlecraft Safety and Safety Afloat. I’ve also been very fortunate to travel around North and South America for whitewater kayaking, where I’ve helped with multiple Stewardship projects and educated local communities on the importance on protecting watersheds and rivers.
Puerto Rico - Omar Ramos
I would like to promote the principles and safety related to SUP and kayaking while promoting the ACA not only as an organization but as a source of knowledge and support to paddlers.
I will continue enhancing the paddling community in Puerto Rico by providing education and promoting the ACA in events across teh Commonwealth. We at Paddle Paradise PR were the hosts of the USCG - ACA On-Water paddle sports instruction PR for SUP. We also promoted the ACA and safe paddling practices in the PR Outdoor Sports Show and been promoting the ACA in our daily operations.