Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vinessa Currie, One Helluva Woman

A good friend of mine died on Friday night. She was driving to Saskatoon with her family to take part in the Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium the next day. Vinessa was a founding member of the Common Currents Paddling Association and part of our small organizing committee. The following is an extended version of what I wrote for the Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium website.  

Vinessa speaking at the 2014 Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium that she instigated. Here she displays her ever-present smile in one of it's more subdued forms.  

Passion. Vitality. Energy. Excitement. Enthusiasm. Laughter. Rather busy at times. But above all, passion. These are some of the words and phrases that come to mind as we remember Vinessa Currie-Foster.

On Friday, April 24th, 2015, the night before the Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium, Vinessa was en route to Saskatoon for the symposium with her young family. Tragically, she never made it to her destination and the paddling world, her family, friends, and all who knew her, are left to mourn her passing. Vinessa’s death hung heavy over our hearts throughout the symposium, yet she would have loved to see so many people together, celebrating paddling, and being brought closer as a paddling community, reaching out to embrace new members in that community.

Without Vinessa, there likely would not be a Common Currents Paddling Association or a Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium. It was her bright vision which lit the spark that brought the 2014 Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium into being, and it was the success of that initial event that brought Vinessa and the rest of us together in its wake to create the Common Currents Paddling Association as a vessel to continue to bring the paddling community together. This was just one of her pursuits. She was also involved in Nature Saskatchewan (Education Director), Canoe Kayak Saskatchewan (Vice President), Leave No Trace Canada (Master Educator course provider), Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association, Tourism Saskatchewan, Canada Nature Escapes and more, not to mention running Clearwater Canoeing full time.

Just 35 years old, Vinessa was a force to be reckoned with. She was passionate about paddling, the north, wilderness, Saskatchewan, history, and passionate about her family. Not only was Vinessa a rising pillar in the paddling and tourism community, she was also a mother, wife, friend and sister. She will have a legacy in the people she has inspired to do great things, and her legacy will be reflected through her children and family. Those of us who have met her twin boys know that they, too, have a fair share of their mother’s energy.

Over $3800 plus the donation of a canoe was raised during the paddling symposium, money that will go to helping Vinessa’s family in the aftermath of her death. If you wish to contribute to helping her family, there is a GoFundMe campaign started http://www.gofundme.com/syv7tc and there is a trust account in memory of Vinessa set up at the CIBC in Maidstone, donations to that account can be made at any CIBC branch with the transit/account #00378/72-70933.

We also hope to be able to create something in Vinessa’s memory that will endure for the long term, but what shape that takes has yet to be determined. If this is something you wish to contribute towards through ideas, work or a donation, please contact us at info@saskpaddlingsymposium.com.