The Women of Paddling
Leah Brodsky »The Berkshire (now Western MA) Chapter is blessed to have many strong female leaders within its volunteer ranks. This year, two of our officers are women (our vice chair and our treasurer), and women lead our Bicycling, Outings, and Paddling committees. In fact, the chapter's paddling operation has recently been revitalized thanks to the enthusiastic leadership of three amazing women: Mary Therese Durr, Bonna Wieler, and Dee Dice. There is a bigger Paddling Committee team of 8 people who formed and organized before we put three of us in the chair position. We have all worked since January to develop the paddling program, in conjunction with the Worcester chapter. Each committee member fulfills a role. The members are: Jack Gill, Deb Weisenstein, Cynthia Boettner, Mary Therese Durr, Dee Dice, Bonna Wieler, and with David Elliott and Paul Glazebrook from Worcester chapter. Durr has been paddling for about 25 years. She loves paddling because "it is something you do with a group but also can be a 'quiet in nature' activity." Her goal is to "greatly increase paddling opportunities for members of the Western MA Chapter." Her speciality is whitewater paddling. Dice hails from Martha's Vineyard, where she first discovered her love for paddling more than 20 years ago. The feeling of complete freedom is the most appealing aspect of paddling for Dice. For her, paddling is all about "being surrounded by nature and yet in nature." Her goal is to "help others get involved" and experience the freedom that paddling offers. Dice focuses on quietwater paddling adventures. Wieler has been paddling for over 30 years. She is a kayaking expert, recertifying as a Kayaking Essentials instructor with ACA every four years. Loving paddling because of the "scenery, the exercise, the meditation, the challenges," she was convinced by others to join AMC about eight years ago. She is a leader for the AMC because "this is what I love to do," she said. To help members learn and grow, she is developing new trips, and teaches paddling and leadership skills. These three women lead and participate in paddling trips all over the world, from marvelous Maine's Allagash River to the calm Connecticut River to the coldly beautiful Ottawa, Canada. Paddling in a group is a bonding experience you'll never forget. You'll want to keep coming back to this fun and relaxing water activity. To learn more - about joining a paddling trip or becoming a paddling leader - contact the paddling committee.