Starting a paddling Assn.

I want to start a Paddlers club or assn. in my area. There isn’t one now anywhere around. We have some spectacular paddling opportunities for big water, floaty river, and fast moving creeks. There is getting to be more and more interest in paddling all the time and I am seeing more kayaks and canoes on our local waterways more that ever. I want to start an organization to bring awareness of our great area to people. To educate people about paddling, the enviroment and taking care of our water ways. Also to hold events, races, outings, ect. Perhapes be able to develop river access points and primitive campgrounds.

Now, where do I start? Who do I contact and how do I get this thing off the ground? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

first, check to see if there is one
First, check to see if there is one in your area already, and you havent found it. Try the YMCA, the CYC, the JCC, and Boy Scouts. Ask at all local boat stores. Check with your local Sierra Club chapter, mine does several trips a year. Check w/local colleges, many have an Outdoor Club open to the community.

After you have exhausted all these options, its up to you to make your own club. check out the websites of several clubs at the link on this site:

and get a feel for how you want to organize.

Since it looks like…
…you’re interested in promoting tourism, check with your state/local Chamber of Commerce and/or Tourism Board to see what they’re doing and whether they’d be interested in partnering with you. Perhaps they would allow you to create content for an existing website, which would save you a lot of work. There’s no point in “reinventing the wheel”.

I’d guess your best bet would be to join the American Canoe Association and set up something under thier “paddle America Clubs” umbrella

essentially, they already have the infrastructure set up for most all of what you want to do - certainly if you are considering setting up races, you’d want to look into thier program and insurance coverage I’d think

^good idea here

I would start small
I would start small, and see if there is interest from other paddlers. Perhaps set up a group on and then start getting some paddles going. if people start coming out and they start sounding interested in helping with your other ideas, then maybe you can start looking at growing into the other things.

The other option is to go alone. In that case, perhaps you could start a kayaking outfitter business. Start renting boats and leading trips.

I second the ACA. There’s a heap of
problems and liabilities going it alone.

Meetup Group
Have you tried going online and searching for meetup groups in your area. In your search engine type in meetup groups, the name of your city and state, and kayak or canoe. It should show any Google meetup groups in your area.

Second the Meetup tool to test interest
Our Trail and River Rovers of Eastern North Carolina, has grown from a handful to over 500 in just a few years. R

Soyve donuts at yer meetin’s…
dat be de key ta startin’ an’ maintainin’ a club. Woyked fer 28 years o’ de Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club!


second the Meetup suggestion
A few folks started a paddlers group in my city on “” 5 years ago and I was amazed at how quickly it grew, so much so that they have several outings a week at a range of ability levels and ambitions, most of which fill up almost immediately. And sub-groups seem to have emerged from it. Last I looked at the member list there were several hundred.

The nice thing about Meetup is that the web-based structure is already there for setting up enrollment, tailoring the “exclusivity” of member lists, and means of automatically notifying people of outings and news and of posting schedules, as well as links to similar groups in the Meetup environment. There seems to be Meetup presence in most states and towns of any size,

Thanks so much!
The advice is great! I never knew it existed! I will be starting up ND Paddlers on there soon! And if anyone wants to come paddle any of our great water that is so unsolicited its crazy. let me know. I can point you in the right direction or take you out! :slight_smile:

Meetup is a good deal
Ridiculously easy and cheap to start out. Helps you organize events, meetings, and mostly get people started doing paddling together.

Be aware that a meetup is like a pickup ball game: Whoever shows, goes, but often people don’t take it quite as seriously as a commitment as you might like. So you may get many no-shows, or folks who come only once or intermittently.

I started an informal biking group 26 years ago with a buddy. It grew and morphed. Some stayed for decades, some didn’t fit in from the get-go. Others came and went. In the end we have a tight group of 11 friends, who may differ at times, but always pull together. It’s a bonding group that is very special. However, I also started the group’s annual outings, and believe me, organizing those was a real bear! And I herd cats for a living…

So the less formal and the less you expect, the more likely you are to succeed, IME.