Reflections from the Cockpit December 2007
"Giving Thanks "

Each month when I write my reflection I often wonder how many, if any, of you paddlers in cyberspace, read my posted thoughts. When I began the USK web site, it was for the purpose of making a difference in the world of sea kayaking.  I wanted to help raise the quality and standard of sea kayaking education.  This is my 69th posted reflection.  Since I am an educator first, I forget there are tools out there to help answer my questions. I forgot I had a service that keeps stats about the USK web site.  I just checked my web stats yesterday (for the first time in two years) and I was pleasantly surprised.  According to the stats, the USK site gets an average of 350 different sessions per day.  That translates to 127,750 sessions per year.  I realize there are repeat visitors to the site, but these numbers tell me that a few hundred different people visit the USK site each day. For all of you that visit the USK site I want to say thank you. The reason I thank you, is because I am sure most of you are getting something of value from the site, which means you will spread that value to others and others will spread to yet others. You, all of you, are helping me achieve one of my stated goals in the USK Mission Statement. By promoting education we make the sport of sea kayaking more enjoyable and a bit safer for everyone.

As you can see from our mission statement we also try to make a difference in many ways.  Two nights ago Hadley & I were listening to our car radio while we were driving. One of our regular talk show stations was having a fund drive for foster kids.  They had a goal and the thousands of regular listeners were not responding. The talk show host was beating the bushes to remind us how much we have and how much is needed by the foster kids. As we listened to the fine work being done by the agency being sponsored, we pulled over and Hadley called the station to make a pledge on the phone. We give to many organizations throughout the year. When we heard this appeal we couldn’t resist.

I share this story because when I saw the stats of how many visits we get to the USK site I was sad when I realized that of the 127,750 visits we got this last year only two of our readers actually donated to the USK “Make A Difference Program”.  It is not my normal style to beat the bushes and remind our readers that there are people out there who need help.  Please read about the USK “Make A Difference Program.” After you read about it I hope you can make a small donation that will make a big difference in the life of another human being.  If all the visitors to our site just gave $1.00 we would have well over $100,000 to use for the needy. Wow! What a large number can be generated by lots of small ones. Again, USK uses every donated dollar for the cause.  We do not charge any administration fees and our time for distribution is all volunteered.

When I started the USK site I made a conscious decision NOT to have annoying banner ads or sponsor ads to crowd the site. This also means the site has to be paid for from our sales. To put it bluntly, we pay to host an educational site to provide free sea kayaking education to paddlers who choose to use it. If you find something of value on the USK site please think about making a donation. If you think about the cost of a class or a clinic, then a $5.00 donation is very little to pay. We are far from our goal of $2,000 for this year. Our two contributors have given $75.00 total (which we are grateful to receive). After we add the USK donation (a portion of sales), we will be at $500 total. I am not asking for the money for USK, I am asking for your donations to help others.


The Holiday season is upon us again.  Part of the holiday spirit is giving thanks for what each of us has.  The other element is each of us doing our part to help others and make a difference in the world. Sea kayakers are usually good in caring for the environment.  I am asking you to expand that view of the environment to include people who are regularly cold and hungry.

Again, I want to thank my readers for visiting the USK site and helping to spread safety and education in the sea kayaking community. Hadley & I also want to thank those in advance who will make donations to the “Make A Difference Program” this year, in order to help us reach our goal.


Wayne Horodowich


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