Leaders Kent Cameron and Burt Nowell receiving the award for Paddle Club

Paddle Club Receives Star Award
Date: October 3, 2007
National Heritage Corridor Commission Recognizes Blackstone Valley Paddle Club with Star Award 

The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission presented its Corridor Star Award to the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club on September 20, 2007, at their Commission meeting held at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) headquarters.

The Blackstone Valley Paddle Club was recognized for its twelve Volunteer Team Leaders who stepped forward during the past two years to help take the Paddle Club to a new level, improving the quality if the programs it offers and allowing the Corridor to increase the number of Club participants.

In 2002, the Paddle Club was a program sponsored by the Corridor Commission and its staff. By 2005, the club was in danger of being discontinued because of budget and staffing changes. At the same time, the popularity of the program surged and the average attendance at Paddle Club outings more than doubled. Realizing the integrity and safety of the program was at risk, the Volunteer Team Leaders stepped forward again, creating a second night of Paddle Club activities each week through the summer, making the program much more manageable. For the 2006 season, the club partnered with the Rhode Island Canoe and Kayak Association (RICKA), Great Canadian Canoe & Kayak Co., and the Heritage Corridor and the Volunteer Team Leaders successfully evolved the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club into an independent and sustainable program.

Volunteer Team Leaders Mary Lou Anderson, Millville; Elaine Andrews, Julie, Steve and Jason, Riendeau all of Uxbridge; Kent Cameron, Cheryl Thompson Cameron and Benn Thompson of Glocester; Lisa DeHaan, Whitinsville; Erik Eckilson, Woonsocket; Linda Konvalinka, Milford; Melanine Lamoureux and Jeann Mcinerney of Worcester; Wayne Leary, North Smithfield; Bob Martin, Cumberland; Burt Nowell, North Attleboro; Lee Parham, Norton; Louise Price, Upton; and Mike Rock of Boylston) all stepped up to take over the logistics of the club so that it has continued to meet weekly from May through August to explore the waterways of the Blackstone River Valley.

The Volunteer Team Leaders are all experienced paddlers who were previous members of the Paddle Club or of RICKA. According to Ranger Suzanne Buchanan who helped present the award, “The Blackstone Valley Paddle Club is not only a popular program, but an excellent way for the Heritage Corridor to build constituency for one of its key missions-the restoration of the Blackstone River. The Volunteer Team Leaders play an integral part in helping build constituency and stewardship toward the river through the Paddle Club and they have proven to be instrumental in clearing the River of obstacles, scouting for trips and ensuring safety for all visitors during Paddle Club trips.”

In the 2007 season, the all-volunteer Blackstone Valley Paddle Club program volunteered 1,570 hours and helped created more stewards of the Blackstone River and heightened public awareness that the Blackstone River is a premier recreational resource.


Blackstone Valley Paddle Club Volunteer Team  Leaders and their towns:

Mary Lou Anderson  Millville

Elaine Andrews  Uxbridge

Kent Cameron- Glocester

Cheryl Thompson Cameron - Glocester

Lisa DeHaan -  Whitinsville

Erik Eckilson-   Woonsocket

Linda Konvalinka-  Milford

Melanine Lamoureux-  Worcester

Wayne Leary  -North Smithfield

Bob Martin  -Cumberland

Jeann Mcinerney -Worcester

Burt Nowell  - North Attleboro

Lee Parham - Norton

Louise Price-  Upton

Julie Riendeau -  Uxbridge

Steve Riendeau-  Uxbridge

Jason Riendeau- Uxbridge

Mike Rock-  Boylston

Benn Thompson -Glocester