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Outgoing USACK Wildwater Chairman Reflects on Progress Over Term

Overdorf's committee brought increases in junior athlete participation, training camps and the total number of races held throughout the nation.

Michael Beavers
USAWildwater C-1

September 30, 2001 -- Longmont, CO and Atlanta, GA

As one group of USACK Wildwater Committee members makes room for the next generation of administrative talent, outgoing Chairman Scott Overdorf recently sat down with to review his committee's term and to offer some advice for those leading the critical next term through 2003. He is quick to mention that the most progress has come from everyday, grass-roots support from athletes and organizers.

<"The best progress we have seen over the last two years was in Junior athlete participation and overall athletic growth within their ranks," said Overdorf. "It takes a great deal of dedication on the part of local race organizers, parents, trainers and coaches, high schools, summer camps, and USACK Centers of Excellence, such as the Bethesda Center of Excellence and the Nantahala Racing Club, to make this happen."

Overdorf notes that Chris Norbury, Chris Hipgrave, Charles Albright and Ted Newton have been particularly instrumental in developing youth as well as hosting and organizing races and training camps. "We simply need more people like them in Wildwater," he said. "The youth are the future of our sport and they have really taken that to heart."

"The other area where we must maintain momentum is the distribution of news and information on our sport in the U.S.," added Overdorf. "Step one was to regularly distribute newsletters. Now we have taken it a step further with a great new Website and e-zine (, but the Wildwater community will need to use the new resource to publicize races, training camps, and tips for training for it to be an effective communications medium," he said, noting further that this information has to be "pushed upstream" from the race organizers, retired elite athletes, and current racers for it to really have an impact.

Overdorf says that the new leadership will constitute an active administration, given that there is a pending bid for the U.S. to host the 2003 World Cup Kernville, California. "We have a bid submitted to the International Canoe Federation for the Kern River, which offers a tremendous opportunity to showcase Wildwater in the U.S. and build further participation," he added. Should the bid be approved by the ICF, good organizational skills will be a must for members of the committee.>

Overdorf notes that this athletic participation must come from highly skilled, dedicated and well-coached young talent, and that the only way to grow youth participation may be to create a more formal national training program with coaching, individualized training plan development and regular ongoing feedback on technique.

"All of these initiatives can be accomplished to a limited degree through the dedication we have seen from Wildwater's volunteers," said Overdorf on a final note. "I really wish to impress with the incoming leadership that the sport will gain so much more if they bring fundraising talent and corporate support with them."

Editor's note: Thank you, Scott, and the other Wildwater Committee members for a great term! We really look forward to seeing what the new team will bring.--MB

Michael Beavers is editor of and a C-1 Wildwater racer training in Atlanta, Georgia. Reach him at