Qajaq USA Board Members



Nancy Thornton
Nancy Thornton
pursued kayaking in 1999 as an alternate solo on-water sport to be enjoyed when the wind was either too strong or too mild for her classic Crescent daysailer. Respecting the power of Mother Nature and the potential perils of any on-water sport, she became an education addict. In 2001 Nancy was certified as an ACA Open Water Instructor and BCU Coach, and she has been on staff at many of the annual Great Lakes sea kayak symposiums.

Nancy was introduced to traditional kayaking through local paddling friends. She has supported Michigan Training Camp since its inception in 2002 as part of the kitchen staff. (Her Euro blade was decidedly out of place!) Nancy admits her early exposure to the traditional scene left her believing it was somewhat of a "cult" that reveled in performing ‘tricks ' in their boats. But as she became lured into their ways, she came to view the traditional scene differently. Their ‘tricks' were, indeed, skills -- and the process of developing those skills created a more intimate connection between the body, boat and water.

Through her involvement at Michigan TC she came to appreciate the passion of those engaged in the study of all things traditional. In 2004 they let her out of the kitchen to spend time with visiting staff from Walden Qajaq Society. The experience transformed her views as an instructor. She readily states her preference for the mentoring approach they use, which is prevalent at current traditional events, suggesting it is more inclusive, personal and, ultimately, more productive. Now, having fully crossed over to the "dark side", Nancy arrives at the Training Camp in tuilik and SOF and can't remember the last time she used that awkward Euro blade.

Outside of her paddling endeavors Nancy has 25 years experience in business development and marketing. She is a self-professed ‘manic volunteer' who supports several non-profits. Among the organizations she's involved in is the Maritime Heritage Alliance, an organization engaged in the restoration and sailing of Great Lakes wooden sailboats, and public education of regional maritime tradition.

Nancy is a past-board member where she handled Qajaq USA membership responsibilities and also served as the board secretary. We owe Nancy a a big round of appaluse for her efforts. Nancy currently serves Qajaq USA as an advisor. Nancy helps coordinate the Michigan Training Camp.

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