Out of a field of 13 applicants from around the world—including South Africa, Canada, Australia, France, and the USA—the LCKC Board of Directors selected Kalen Lee Scholz to become the Head Coach/Program Director. The Head Coach/Program Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the club’s programs, including the Sprint Program, Beginner Racing League, Dragon Boat Program, Recreational Program (including Adult Learn to Paddle, Moonlight Paddle, Summer Rentals) and the Summer Day Camp Program.
The committee reviewed a total of 13 applications and narrowed the field to six, interviewed those candidates, and presented the board of directors with four final candidates to interview. According to Tracy Barth, incoming-president for 2017 and head of the search committee, “We received a lot of qualified applicants, but at the end of the day, the board realized that the best person to fill the position was already here at the club. Having someone that is familiar with the athletes, parents, and the community will allow our new head coach the ability to jump right in and begin work immediately.”
Kalen began paddling in 1999 as a member of the LCKC Sprint Team. Competing against other athletes across the USA, she was selected to be a member of the Junior National Team from 2002– 2005 and the Senior National Team in 2005. She received the Mimi Le Beau Memorial Award at the National Club Championships two years in a row—2003 and 2004. This award is presented to the winner of the K–1 500 meter Junior Women’s Final. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science Degree (Magna Cum Laude). Her continuing education includes Certified Georgia Educator and USA Canoe/Kayak High Performance Coaching Certification.
Kalen began her coaching career in May, 2009 when she was hired by LCKC as the Development Coach. Over the years, she has built the developmental team from fewer than 10 athletes to 44 athletes presently. In her position as Development Coach she directed the Beginner Racing League—a twice a year introduction to the sport of Sprint Canoe/Kayak for 10–14 year-olds, coordinated club regattas and planned team trips to venues in Canada and across the USA. She was our Nationals Head Coach this year in Oklahoma City where the team won the Bantam and Juvenile Age Classes and the Masters won the overall title in the age class. She serves as a member of the USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint Coaches Association Board.
With her background in the sport and her institutional knowledge of the club, Kalen will continue to make a positive mark on local youth, both introducing the sport and ensuring those whose goals include the Olympics have the training and support to succeed. In this new position, she will have more than 70 athletes to keep engaged and motivated.
“I am excited and honored to take on this leadership role at LCKC. I am truly looking forward to working with athletes throughout their paddling careers and supporting them as they strive to reach their goals whether it be in local, national, or international competitions. My goal is to increase community awareness and grow our membership so that more people will be exposed to the wonderful experiences that I know are common here at LCKC—the place that has been my home for the past 17 years,” Scholz said.
LCKC President Michael Braff said, “The Board of Directors looks forward to working with Kalen Scholz in her new position to continue the growth of the club and educating the community about the sports and activities that are available as a legacy of the Olympics.”
Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club is a living legacy of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Founded in 1994, the club has introduced the sport of sprint canoe/kayak to hundreds, if not thousands, of children (both the young and the young at heart). In addition to sprint canoe/kayak, the club offers programs and events in dragon boating, recreation, and stand up paddle boarding. The club has had one athlete qualify for the Olympics—Tim Hornsby, who started paddling after seeing the 1996 Olympic Games. He competed for Team USA in the 2012 London Games. There have been numerous LCKC athletes who have competed in national and international competitions (both sprint and dragon boat) for Team USA over the history of the club. For more information about the programs, events and activities offered by the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club, please go to www.lckc.org.