New Year Thoughts

A TRR Paddler and his companion look toward the future



It’s finally here… Regardless of what you thought about 2016, that year is behind us and a new year lies ahead of us. A new year full of new hopes, new possibilities, new programs, and new experiences. We sometimes forget that as we look outside in January at the cold, gray days. It looks like an ending…

But, January is truly a beginning – the start of a new year. In Team River Runner, we use these cold winter months to prepare for the spring paddling season during our pool sessions. We prepare for the summer by planning our next Kids are OuttaSight! clinics. We get ready for the final dam releases in the fall by ensuring we have all the gear, permits, and paddlers ready to go.

How do you see this time? Is this a time of endings or a time of beginnings? Do you see the cold, gray days outside your window or do you see nature taking a deep breath, getting itself ready to explode in green and life and beauty when the snows melt in a few short months? Do you simply sit, longing to be out on the water or are you preparing yourself for your next paddling adventure, be it in the pool or a drysuit-and-pogies adventure on a local stream?

This is what I see when I look at the gray January days:

  • Kids are OuttaSight! planning and preparation is already underway!
  • The 2017 pool schedule is finalized and posted – and don’t forget about the participation door prizes we’re handing out at the final session on April 8th!
  • A new group of paddlers will be pursuing their TRR Level 1-3 endorsements this year; a few will be pursuing their TRR Instructor endorsements as well…AWESOME!
  • New chapter volunteers are taking charge and running with their individual programs – I can’t wait to introduce them to you!
  • Kayak Football championships are coming – we’re going to bring Pennsylvania power to the competitions this year!
  • Paracanoe! I want to cheer-on Susquehanna Valley TRR adaptive competitors at local races in 2017…who’s in?
  • Outreach continues to expand as we seek new Veterans and adaptive sports enthusiasts and get them into boats!
  • We are adding new Community Service projects for 2017, providing our Veterans with the opportunity to give back to the community that has supported them through the years. We joined the military to serve!
  • We will expand our Paddling Event Safety Boater program to provide no-cost safety paddlers for local races and events in 2017.
  • As the ice thaws and the streams rise, we will be getting our adaptive paddlers out on the rivers and creeks to put their training to the test. Barriers are coming down!

In short, I see smiles – broad, toothy smiles – as people find joy in the sport and peace within the community we are building. My mantra on the river is, “If you’re not smiling, you’re doing it wrong!” I plan to extend that to all things TRR – if we’re not smiling while planning, doing outreach, training others, paddling, competing, providing safety at local races and events, or picking up trash, then we’re probably doing it wrong.

If anything I have listed here is something you want to get involved with, let me know. YOU are the ones who make all these things possible. Roy and I are minor players in all of this – you are the real movers and shakers in this chapter of TRR…don’t ever forget that!

I wish a happy New Year to each and every one of you.