Annual Club Meeting – 2019

Location: Fort Meigs YMCA, Perrysburg, OH
Date: March 17, 2019, 12:30PM
Attendees: Michael J., Mike S., Mike Jones, Kelley M., Karen W., Scott H., Mike B., Dearl B., Jeremy B., Beth W., Jana L. Frank P., Patrick F., Allen H., Justin T., Jeremy W., Nick R., and Eric S.

Meeting Minutes


  • New President, Mike Bielski
  • Treasurer, Eric Slough
  • Webmaster, Beth Wilkerson
  • YMCA Class Organizer, Mike Bielski

Topics Discussed

  • Taking newer paddlers to the cascades on the Huron to experience some basic skills was one idea proposed.
  • Taking some to Springfield, Ohio was another option.
  • Having membership forms more accessible was discussed.
  • A date for a moving water lecture class needed to be addressed when some students chose to continue to further their skills.
  • Mike S. brought our to attention that the Vermilion race was cancelled this year. He also mentioned that a kayak race was scheduled for April 27th 2019 on the Grand River in Northeast Ohio.
  • Doug S. is scheduling a trip to the Lower Yough the weekend of June 22/23.
  • A reminder that the TRG club had a policy that if a member was interested in becoming a certified instructor that the club would help cover some of the cost of the certification.

Why Join?

Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Beth and I am the webmaster for I joined Toledo River Gang in 2011 following the acquisition of my first kayak, a Pelican recreational sit-in kayak. Today my kayak collection has grown because each one serves a specific purposes: a playboat, creekboat, sea kayak, and river runner. (Learn how to select your perfect kayak with our Toledo River Gang_New Kayak Purchase Guide.) While I enjoy all types of kayaking, I particularly enjoy the adventure of Class IV whitewater. However, in the beginning of my kayak career the very thought of wearing a skirt frightened the daylights out of me.

Speaking of the early days, my life was forever changed the day I received my first kayak. My appreciation of the sport initiated while I attended college. During the summer of my senior year, I enjoyed floating on an inflatable raft along the Maumee River along with my roommates. When my roommates grew bored of the activity, I sought a vehicle that would get me on the water by myself, without a motor. In my mid-twenties, I made it a goal to buy a kayak but a few financial set-backs prevented me from procuring a boat. That’s when my parents surprised me on my birthday with my very own kayak.

Overwhelmed with excitement, I Googled every keyword that had to do with “kayaks”:

  • Kayak club
  • Kayak Toledo
  • Kayak launches
  • Kayak skirts
  • Kayak racks
  • Kayak classes

And the list goes on…

When I searched “kayak club Toledo”, I discovered Toledo River Gang. I met club members at Three Meadows Pond and tried out kayaks that were dramatically less stable than mine. I simply could not understand how fellow boaters fit their legs into such small boats (playboats).

In an effort to educate myself for safety purposes, I enrolled in the Intro to Whitewater Class offered at the Perrysburg (Fort Meigs) YMCA. Each week, I was challenged to face fears and work on my newly formed skills. Some weeks went well and other weeks did not, but I kept attending the classes. Soon I built confidence on flat water and eventually transferred those skills to whitewater. It took me longer than most (more than a year) to master my roll, but once I did it opened many whitewater opportunities.

Today, I enjoy several trips each year with members that have become my best friends. Looking back, my life and hobby would be much different had I not joined Toledo River Gang. The club has provided me a wealth of information about moving water as well as a community that enables these skills to continue growing.

For $10 per year, perhaps you’ll find the Toledo River Gang membership delivers more than you ever imagined as well.

Sea Kayaking Symposium


Toledo River Gang (TRG) located in Toledo, Ohio is a kayak club dedicated to paddling whitewater, flat water, Lake Erie, and other areas by kayak. Toledo River Gang (TRG) was started in the 1970s by people that wanted to have fun and enjoyed being on the water without gas powered motors.  TRG members built their boats out of fiberglass sheets, made their own sprayskirts, and used wool clothing to keep warm. Running a river in those days meant being able to paddle from point A to point B without putting a hole in the boat. For those who were not successful, club members hosted “patching parties” to repair boats.

The sport has evolved dramatically during the last few decades.  The plastic polymer boats of today are nearly indestructible.  “Fuzzy rubber” and fleece have replaced wool and there is a whole industry to support and promote paddling.

The majority of TRG members kayak whitewater, but some members also sea kayak / canoe or paddle all three. Toledo River Gang consists of a great group of people who share one common interest: to have fun and paddle.

Members paddle whenever they can, wherever there is water.  Locally, the Maumee, Huron, Portage and Sandusky Rivers are popular kayaking destinations.  Springtime trips take place on Slippery Rock Creek in Pennsylvania. Summertime fun can be found at the East Race, the man-made course in South Bend, Indiana.  Longer weekend trips usually involve camping. Rivers can include the Youghiogheny in Pennsylvania, the New, the Meadow, the Cheat, the Tygart and the Gauley in West Virginia, the Ocoee and Clear Creek in Tennessee, the Nantahala in North Carolina and the Chattooga in South Carolina.  Club members have participated in week-long summer trips to rivers in Oregon, Colorado and Maine.

Join the Toledo River Gang. Click on the Membership Link to learn about membership and what the club offers. Visit our FACEBOOK page to interact with fellow paddlers.