YORKTON - Jessica Riley has been involved with the Yorkton Canoe and Kayak Club for 15 years.
That dedication was recently marked by Canoe Kayak Canada, (CKC), when the national organization announced its 2022 recipients of the Club Development Award and Coach Developer Award, and Riley took home the honour.
The CKC awards are presented on an annual basis to coaches and club leaders who have made significant achievements in their communities.
This year, 16 coaches were nominated and the winners of this year’s awards were announced during the 2022 CKC Annual Summit.
In a release it was noted, “Riley has had a tremendous impact on both her community and the sport of Canoe Kayak. Jessica’s commitment to her programs have garnered growth and excellence at Yorkton Canoe and Kayak Club.
“Through Jessica’s commitment, Yorkton Canoe and Kayak Club is a thriving community-based club that has regained its foothold as a training facility with high performance athletes who train year around. By developing and coaching a diverse range of competitive, recreational, and adaptive programs, Jessica has rebuilt the membership into a club that enrols over 500 people in programs annually.”
Riley told Yorkton This Week she was aware she had been nominated, but added she “wasn’t expecting to get anything.”
With 16 nominees, Riley said there were many deserving people up for the awards.
“There are so many great coaches across Canada,” she said, adding with that in mind just to be nominated was great.
Riley said with so many coaches doing so many great things across the country, she was “truly honoured,” to have been presented the award.
The award was also something which Riley said gave her a reason to pause and reflect on the work she has done in the past 15 years.
When Riley took the helm as the head coach of the Yorkton club in 2008 there were only four members, noted a CKC release.
“Through hard work and innovation Riley has steadily increased membership and last year offered diverse programming to over 500 participants. She has also developed a strong competitive program along the way.”
In 2022, Elia Bolme, one of Riley's local athletes was selected to Team Sask for the Niagara Canada Games. This was a major milestone for the club.
As a staff member with Canoe Kayak Saskatchewan, Riley's work focuses on grassroots development, noted the release. Prior to joining the organization as staff, Riley volunteered her time to mentor other clubs and coaches. She has also been very involved with the Canada Games, Western Canada Games and Saskatchewan Games programs.
Riley currently splits her time between New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, working in Yorkton from May to November and virtually in the off-season.