With the start of the new year, we wanted to take a moment to update everyone in the NYO family on our accomplishments in 2012. During this past year, NYO’s outreach efforts put a record number of New Yorkers on the water, while also working to broaden the demographic we serve. Our training programs ran hundreds of practices throughout the season, and our race crews earned second place in the East Coast Outrigger Racing Association. Additionally, through the work of our dedicated race organizers and amazing volunteer members, we dramatically increased the exposure of our premier event, the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, which highlights the successful revitalization of New York City’s waterfront.
As a not-for-profit organization, our mission is to educate New Yorkers about the culture and sport of outrigger canoe paddling by providing opportunities to experience New York’s waterways. In 2012 our outreach efforts reached a record number of New Yorkers:
- Our free Novice program put 373 New Yorkers on the water
- NYO’s Growth program provided an additional 364 seats to mentor new paddlers by teaching them the necessary boat skills and safety procedures to properly navigate the city’s waterways
- Our all-volunteer organization continued its steady growth, increasing our membership by 10%
- We increased our nonprofit partnerships this year through providing programs for a number of different organizations and events.
- NYO expanded into stand up paddling with the purchase of several SUP boards and the expectation of developing stand up paddling programs in 2013
2012 was an incredible year for our outreach initiatives, which was only possible because of the amazing work of our members. A big thank you to the NYO family for giving your time and energy this season to get other New Yorkers out on the water!
Training and Development:
In addition to our outreach programs, NYO also fulfills its educational mission by providing training and mentorship opportunities through recreational and race related practices. These practices afford numerous opportunities for New Yorkers to get on the water and build upon our outreach programs. As a result of our mentoring programs, NYO is now overwhelmingly composed of New Yorkers who learned to paddle an outrigger canoe at Pier 66. And for many of them, NYO was their first exposure to the Hudson River.
In 2012, NYO offered 583 practices and participated in races throughout the East Coast, taking second place in the East Coast Outrigger Racing association. In addition to regional races, NYO members also participated in the International Va’a Federation World Sprints in Calgary, the Treasure Island Classic in Florida, and the Moloka’i Hoe in Hawaii. In 2013, NYO plans to participate in races in California, Hawaii and Hong Kong, thereby increasing the international awareness of New York City watersports.
A special note of appreciation goes out to our 2012 coaching staff: Keith Tsang, Emily Harris, Jason Ng, Ed Acker, and our race coordinator Will Chang. Your numerous hours spent preparing for, and organizing, practices helped develop our paddling abilities and elevated the expectations our paddlers have for themselves and their teammates. Thank you!
The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge:
This year NYO members worked diligently to continue the great tradition of our premier event, the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge. 2012 also brought the start of a new partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, who became the title sponsor of our regatta. While Liberty consistently draws competitors from around the world, 2012 marked the first year where the majority of race participants were not from the East Coast. Among the world’s major outrigger regattas, Liberty is the only one where non-regional teams comprise the majority of participants, making it a truly international event.
The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge also increased its exposure this year through a focused social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter. The social media groundswell helped Liberty land the cover of the August issue of Pacific Paddler magazine and an episode of Ocean Paddler TV. Our media success was the direct result of our excellent web development team: Alla Gringaus (allagringaus.com) and Elena Gartshtein (elenagart.com). Thank you so much for your incredible guidance and superhuman efforts this past year!
While our Liberty team consistently organizes an excellent race, we were especially proud of the work we did this year to expand the regatta – an achievement that was only possible because of the amazing work of our volunteer membership. Thank you so much to all of you who invested your time and effort to make the 2012 Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge such a success! And a special thank you to race organizers: Carol Choi, Keith Tsang, Lauren Decker, Di Eckerle, and race director Ed Acker. Your countless hours behind the scenes make this amazing event possible.
2013 and Beyond:
As NYO continues to grow, we hope to expand our outreach initiatives, thereby allowing even more New Yorkers to experience our city’s amazing harbor and rivers. Along with increasing our outreach programs, we hope to target segments of the community who have historically found it difficult to access the city’s waterways. In an effort to reach underserved portions of the community, NYO has created the John Krevey Paddler Grant. The grant provides membership in NYO and covers all expenses associated with the East Coast Outrigger Racing Association and related races. Through providing free sessions and mentorship opportunities, we hope our outreach programs will develop individual commitment to our waterfront across a broad spectrum of the community.
Finally, we wanted to say how much we appreciated the volunteer efforts of so many of our members in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Not only did you work tirelessly at the boathouse, but many of you gave of your time and muscle to help our extended ohana on Staten Island. It is this amazing sense of community and giving that makes NYO such a special group. Thank you so much.
Looking forward to another amazing season and all the best to you and your families.
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou,
NYO Executive Committee