whitewater Class 1/2 (53%). Class 1 rivers come in third (39%), followed by overnight paddling camping trips (33%) fourth, Class 3 and greater whitewater (32%) fifth camping trips (29%) sixth, lakes (27%) seventh and coastal/ sea kayaking trips last at 17%. 81 members answered this question and there were 238 responses, which indicates that our members paddle all different types of water.

Since Class 2/3 seemed to be the predominant type of paddling of the responders, I ran a filter and evaluated the other results as compared to the Class 2-3 paddlers. What I found was that 55% of these paddlers were whitewater kayakers and 44% were whitewater canoeists. 60% of these Class 2/3 paddlers also paddle Class 1/2 and 34% paddle Class 3 and higher water. 33% also enjoy paddling Class 1/ Gentle rivers and 31% enjoyed overnight camping trips from their boats.

Next, I looked at the Class 1/Gentle rivers paddlers and found that 72% of those folks also enjoyed Class 1/2 rivers and 65% enjoyed overnight camping trips from their boats. Again, this reflects the diverse paddling interests of the folks taking the survey.

I then decided to look at the folks that have just joined the club in the last year. I wanted to see what type of boats they paddled and what type trips they wanted GCA to lead. Interestingly, the new members largely paddled rec kayaks (66%) followed by 25% of folks that paddled whitewater kayaks, sea kayaks, solo flatwater canoes and tandem flatwater canoes.

As expected, 83% of these members would like to see GCA conduct training, 75% want GCA to lead Class 1 trips, 66% would like to see Class 1/2 trips and 50% would like GCA to lead lake trips. I looked at what type of events/activities these folks would like GCA to sponsor and found river cleanups were first, followed by weekend flatwater trips and then by weekend whitewater trips.

Next, I looked at the responses of the long time members so I ran a filter on the folks who have been members for over 15 years. 81% of these members paddle whitewater canoe, 43% paddle tandem whitewater canoe, 37% paddle whitewater kayaks, 31% paddle sea kayaks and 31% paddle flatwater tandem canoes.

Next, I looked at the type of paddling trips these longtime members would like GCA to do and found 85% would like to see Class 2/3 trips, 71% would like to see overnight camping from your boat trips, 64% would like to see Class 3 and greater trips, 50% would like to see Class 1/2 trips and 50% would like to see GCA do paddling/car camping trips. I looked at how they answered the question about what type of events they want GCA to sponsor and found that river clean-ups was first, whitewater weekend trips was second and flatwater weekend trips was third.

I looked at the folks who had been members for 2-4 years because most respondents (24%) fit into this category. 52% of these responders paddle rec kayaks, 42% paddle whitewater kayaks, 26% paddled whitewater canoes and 26% paddled tandem flatwater canoes. These members said they wanted GCA to do training (61%), Class 1/2 trips (61%), Class 2/3 trips (50%) and overnight camping from your boat trips (50%). When asked what events/activities they wanted, they responded first with whitewater weekend trips, second with river clean-up and third with Spring Extravaganza. Overall, most members responding to the survey would like GCA to conduct training (57%), lead Class 2/3 trips (57%), lead class 1/2 trips (53%), lead overnight camping from your boat trips (51%), lead Class 1/gentler rivers (42%) and lead paddling/car camping weekend trips (40%).

Again, the club membership’s paddling interests are diverse. Responders said they wanted GCA to sponsor the following events/activates the most: weekend whitewater trips first, river clean-ups second, Spring Extravaganza third, weekend flatwater trips fourth and the Fall Gala fifth. Also, it was very clear that the survey responders thought GCA’s advocacy priority should be placed on river conservation first and river access second.

I also looked at the training aspect of the survey. I concentrated on looking at the responses of the newer GCA members. I made the assumption (although this might not be correct) that these members were newer paddlers. In the future, we should specifically ask survey responders how many years they had been paddling so as to be more responsive to the training needs of our new members.

I evaluated the surveys of folks answering that they would like GCA to conduct training and I filtered the “less than 1 year” members to determine what type of boat they paddled to see how GCA can best determine their training needs. 39% were whitewater kayakers, 35% were rec kayakers, 32% were tandem flatwater canoeists, 28% were sea kayakers and 26% were whitewater canoeists.

I then looked at the “2-4 year” member category and found that 42% were whitewater kayakers, 38% were rec kayakers, 35% were tandem flatwater canoeists, 27% were whitewater canoeists, 27% were solo flatwater canoeists and 25% were sea kayakers. If you draw an inference from the numbers, you would come to the conclusion that many new members (0-4 years) need training not just in whitewater kayak and canoe, but also in recreational kayaking and flatwater canoe since many of our new members paddle these boats.

Also, The Eddy Line got glowing reviews. 90% of members responding to the question were either satisfied or very satisfied with The Eddy Line. Some of the comments suggested more articles concerning the club and less articles of things going on out west. Many comments were complimentary of the newsletter.

51% of responders (42 people) said that they would like to volunteer with GCA. Ironically, river-clean-ups were the #1 volunteer activity folks wanted to participate in. I say “ironically” because over the years GCA has had poor attendance at river clean-ups.

Almost every category of volunteer activity had someone saying they would like to volunteer with GCA.I found this extremely encouraging. Below are the email addresses of folks so you’ll know who to contact to volunteer for those activities:

Joe Webb, webb3657@msn.com, for Spring Extravaganza, Fall Gala, Spring Membership Meeting, Holiday Party; Haynes Johnson, haynesandgina@alltel.net, for River Protection, River Clean-up;

Gina Johnson, haynesandgina@alltel.net, for Training (whitewater kayak, whitewater canoe, flatwater kayak and canoe, swift water rescue, wilderness first aid); Kate Wilkerson, odiek8@juno.com, for website, GCA store, newsletter, directory, member services; William Gatling, wmgat@mindspring.com, for Georgia River Explorer Series, sponsorship; Lamar Phillips, lamarph@bellsouth.net, for paddling trails; Steve Reach, cruisemaster@georgiacanoe.org, for leading paddling trips; Roger Nott, ocapaddler@charter.net, for Southeastern whitewater races; Tom Bishop, bishop.t@comcast.net, for serving on the Board of Directors or Executive Committee.

Okay, I’m expecting 42 of you all to email at least one of these folks above and volunteer to help YOUR club out. If for some reason, you can’t contact any of these folks, then please email me at jmhiggins_99@yahoo.com or call me at 404.508.0761.

Finally, 90% of members taking the survey were either satisfied or very satisfied with their GCA membership. There were a couple of negative comments, but for the most part members taking the survey commented that they were pleased with their membership.

Now, what does the Board and Executive Committee do with all these results? The leadership of GCA plans to use these results in the upcoming year to determine where to place our resources. I know it isn’t an exact science, but it is another tool for the Board and Executive Committee to use in determining how best to serve the membership.

By Jamie Higgins

From The Eddy Line, February 2008


Survey questions and answers:

What type of boat do you paddle? (Please check all that apply.)
Whitewater Kayak – 36; Solo Whitewater Canoe – 27; Tandem Flatwater Canoe – 24; Solo Recreational Kayak – 22.
(81 answered question, 0 skipped.)

How long have you been a GCA member?
2-4 years – 19; over 15 years – 16.
(77 answered, 4 skipped.)

What type of paddling do you do most often? (Please check all that apply.)
Whitewater, Class 2/3 – 45; Whitewater, Class 1/2 – 43; Gentle Rivers (flatwater-Class 1) – 32.
(81 answered, 0 skipped.)

How many GCA functions have you participated in during the past year?
1-2 – 33; 3-4 – 13.
(60 answered, 21 skipped.)

What types of paddling trips would you like GCA to do?
(Please check all that apply.)
Training – 44; Whitewater-Class 2/3 – 44; Whitewater-Class 1/2 – 41; Canoe/Kayak Camping (from boat) – 40.
(77 answered, 4 skipped.)

What types of events/activities would you like GCA to sponsor?
Spring Membership Meeting – 23 not interested, 14 moderately interested, 11 interested, 4 would definitely attend.
Holiday Party – 24 not interested, 22 moderately interested, 15 interested, 5 would definitely attend.
Spring Extravaganza – 7 not interested, 31 moderately interested, 22 interested, 11 would definitely attend.
Fall Gala – 10 not interested, 34 moderately interested, 16 interested, 12 would definitely attend.
River Clean-Ups – 2 not interested, 12 moderately interested, 45 interested, 10 would definitely attend.
Weekend Flatwater Trips – 16 not interested, 12 moderately interested, 24 interested, 11 would definitely attend.

Weekend Whitewater Trips – 6 not interested, 6 moderately interested, 39 interested, 17 would definitely attend.
Whitewater Slalom Races – 37 not interested, 10 moderately interested, 4 interested, 3 would definitely attend.
Georgia Flatwater Races – 38 not interested, 12 moderately interested, 4 interested, 2 would definitely attend.
Whitewater Freestyle (Rodeo) – 35 not interested, 9 moderately interested, 9 interested, 3 would definitely attend.

(78 answered, 3 skipped.)

Rate your interest in the following GCA advocacy activities.
River Access – 6 least important, 11 somewhat important, 19 important, 30 most important.
River Conservation/Protection – 2 least important, 8 somewhat important, 27 important, 32 most important.
Paddling Trails – 33 least important, 20 somewhat important, 8 important, 8 most important.
River Clean-Up – 17 least important, 29 somewhat important, 24 important, 5 most important.
(79 answered, 2 skipped.)

What GCA volunteer activity would you be interested in doing? (Please check all that apply.)
River Clean-Up – 38,
Trip Coordinator – 26,
Georgia River Explorer Series – 20,
River Protection – 19.
(61 answered, 20 skipped.)

How do you rate the content and quality of GCA’s newsletter The Eddy Line?
Satisfied – 40, Very Satisfied – 29.
(77 answered, 4 skipped.)

Overall, how satisfied are you with your GCA membership?
Satisfied – 43, Very Satisfied – 37.
(81 answered, 0 skipped.)