Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee chapter of the American Canoe Association (ACA TN) have won an award from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association (TRPA) for multi-faceted low-cost kayak instruction programs offered in May.
The Four-Star Award for Excellence in Innovative Program was awarded for the collaboration between Tennessee State Parks and ACA Tennessee for the instruction during National Safe Boating Week. The week kicked off with volunteers from 13 organizations providing “Kayaking 101” classes at 12 parks across the state. At the end of the week, ACA Tennessee launched the national ACA Kayak Fishing curriculum with a “Hooked on Safety” class in partnership with both the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and Tennessee State Parks. The programs were offered at discounted fees.
“We value recreation and public safety in our state, and this event was notable for both,” said Greer Tidwell, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Conservation for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). “We are grateful to ACA Tennessee for its partnership on such a worthy program, and we thank the TRPA for this award.”
“Safe boating is fun boating.” said ACA Board President Robin Pope, who served as lead instructor for the national kickoff of the kayak angling instruction program. “More than 30 million people in the U.S. paddle canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards, and that number is growing by half a million people each year. Paddlers don’t get on the water hoping to have accidents or get hurt, and partnerships like this help ensure new paddlers receive the training they need to stay safe and have fun on the water. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
“Water is our most valuable natural resource in Tennessee, and we are committed to being good stewards of our waters for outdoor recreation and tourism,” said Greg Young, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Environment for TDEC. “This event is a great example of training for both safety and enjoyment of the outdoors, and we’re grateful for the award for this program.”
The TRPA Four Star Innovative Program Award recognizes the importance of creative ideas that expand community participation in leisure programs. The award honors agencies that have demonstrated leadership in successfully developing and executing programs or events that reflect groundbreaking ideas. TRPA is a non-profit organization of over 2,100 individual and agency members, organized in 1952. TRPA exists to strengthen and unite those committed to the benefits of parks and recreation.