Volunteer of the Year Award – 2017
Congratulations to Leanne Nicholls – Melbourne Canoe Club – who was awarded the 2017 Volunteer of the Year!
Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.
Canoeing Victoria recognizes that reward and recognition are vital in effectively retaining the services of volunteers in our paddling community. For these reasons, Canoeing Victoria has created a Canoeing Victoria Volunteer of the Year Award.
Canoeing Victoria appreciates the important role that volunteers play in our paddling community and value the way they tirelessly contribute to the day to day running of many clubs, discipline events, coaching sessions and club life.
The Canoeing Victoria Volunteer Awards recognize and celebrate Canoeing Victoria’s volunteers who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution within our paddling community.
The nominees for the 2017 Canoeing Victoria Award are :
Joe Alia – Marathon Technical Committee Chair : for his considerable contribution to running Marathon paddling in Victoria for so many years. Joe contributes a huge amount of effort, running Winter Series races, leading the Marathon committee and coaching beginners and school groups at Fairfield Canoe Club.
Gayle Burke – Footscray Canoe Club : Gayle is a great club member who is always willing to help on land and water. She is patient and caring when teaching new paddlers and is always up for a new challenge.
Brian Cooper – Kirinari Kayak Klub : For many years of mentoring many of the paddlers at Kirinari Kayak Klub and running the Kirinari Novice Improvement program (KNIP) in which he focuses on paddling skills and safety and ensuring that all paddlers feel welcome and included.
Warwick Draper – Melbourne Canoe Club : President of Melbourne Canoe Club and
Member of the working committee for Regional Paddle Hub development and involved in the development and installation of Fitzsimons Lane slalom gates.
He has been one of the main contributors to the sport of slalom in Victoria for over 20 years.
Warwick’s passion and enthusiasm has seen him being the driving force behind the development of Paddlepower in Victoria which has led to an increase in youth participation in many clubs throughout Victoria.
Anthony Duffin – Swan Hill Canoe Club : President of Swan Hill Canoe Club for 10 years and for assisting and encouraging paddlers of all abilities to paddle the Murray Marathon.
Gary Flanigan – Fairfield Canoe Club : President of Canoeing Victoria for 10 years and during that time has raised over $65,000.00 running Bunning’s BBQ’s that have contributed to running the organisation. He is always a willing volunteer to run races, tow and drive the safety boat. “without driven people like Gary around our sport would simply not survive or continue to be as active”
Paul Grant – Melbourne Canoe Club : For regularly volunteering his time during whitewater slalom races in Victoria, and for training on the Yarra slalom course at Fitzsimons Lane in Templestowe. Paul has dealt in a successful and exceptionally diplomatic way with the persons who kept cutting down the wires and gates at Fitzsimons Lane in the past several months.
Jonathan Mayne – Fairfield Canoe Club : Jonathan has been awarded life membership of the Fairfield Canoe Club following 65 years of service to the club, the State and the Nation. He volunteered at the cutting edge of the Red Cross Murray Marathon for 40 years and has been commentator to the Australia Sprint Championship since the 1970s. When anything went wrong on the Murray Marathon the word was.”See Jonathan Mayne, he will fix that”.
Leanne Nicholls – Melbourne Canoe Club : Leanne’s involvement with the paddling community particularly in Warburton is incredible. She is passionate, motivated, committed and always giving.
Leanne has been a major contributor to the increase in paddling in the Yarra Valley and promoting paddling in Warburton to the wider community.
Leanne has petitioned and received grants for extra equipment and has been successful in petitioning local Council for two new launch sites on the river in Warburton.
For the first time in its History, the Upper Yarra Valley had 4 local Schools enter the Victorian Schools White water Championships due to Leanne’s drive.
She has been an advocate of children with disabilities in the Yarra Valley and has initiated along with others, the first adaptive class, in Victorian history, at the Victorian Schools White Water Championships. Enriching the lives of others with her generosity of spirit and energy, Leanne is an ambassador for Canoeing Victoria.
Dita Pahl – Canoes Plus Racing Team : a dedicated coach, paddler and mentor. For her work as a coach for the past 15 years, coaching junior paddlers during the week and most weekends. Dita has coached Slalom, Freestyle and more recently Wildwater racing.
Steven Parker – Geelong Canoe Club : Stephen was recently awarded life membership to the Geelong Canoe Club. The first member in over 10 years to achieve this honour.
Stephen has redefined the Geelong Canoe Club over the last 5 years. His volunteer work commenced with the development of a five year strategic plan, creating a vision and purpose for the club. He has united paddle disciplines, including marathon, canoe polo, multi sport, schools, scouts, dragon boating and recreational canoeing. These partnerships have lead to a vibrant paddling community in Geelong.
it is worth to noting that at the height of fund raising and negotiations with all levels of government, Stephen averaged 30 hours per week in volunteer time.
Jennifer Stevens – Fairfield Canoe Club : Jen runs and organises canoe polo events and is very involved with developing and organising the Victorian and Australian Women’s canoe polo teams. With her help, the Victorian Women’s team has improved and grown so much which resulted in them winning in 2017.
Ian Wallbridge – Victorian Canoe Club : For his work at Canoe Polo at Lilydale Lake. Ian is amazing with the kids and his down to earth nature puts paddlers at ease and encourages all kids to try new techniques and to do their best!
Ben Watts – Canoe Polo Committee and Fairfield Canoe Club : For many hours of volunteering in Canoe Polo events. Ben works very hard to organise and run canoe polo beginner sessions, rolling nights and come and trys. Most importantly, Ben is passionate about growing Canoe Polo and making the sport accessible and inclusive to everyone.
Steve Vegh – Patterson Lakes Canoe Club : Steve is a Life Member of the club. He is always available in times of crisis, ready to give advice and help. He runs training sessions at the club almost every day of the week. Steve has expertise in relation to the Para-canoe members, and is very skilful in modifying the kayak to fit the person’s disability, allowing them comfort, speed and enjoyment. Steve has expertise in kayak manufacture and repair aswell. He repairs any damaged kayaks and is always available to answer questions or give advice about skills, or purchase of new equipment.
John Young – Fairfield Canoe Club / Marathon Technical Committee Treasurer : For his outstanding commitment to Marathon Racing. John has worked tirelessly on the Canoe Victoria Marathon Technical committee since 2014 ensuring that marathon racing in Victoria is vibrant, innovative and well run.