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Articles of Interest » Volunteer of the Year » Craig Kunkel

Craig Kunkel

Lovelidge, Shawn

Craig Kunkel

It's 9pm on Saturday, April 9th. The seats are packed, and a few are standing. Jean Krupa, USA Dance Vice President, makes her way to the stand and begins. It's here at the National DanceSport Championships where Craig Kunkel received an award he will never forget. No, it wasn't dancing a ballroom routine for which he would get his applause. Rather, it was for his time and energy that he gave willingly to USA Dance throughout the year that gave him the Volunteer of the Year.

Kunkel has been a board member of the Dallas Chapter of USA Dance since 2004. He's devoted more of his time to USA Dance than anyone could ever thank him for. Some of his contributions over the years include DJ'ing for over 20 dances a year, maintaining and storing USA Dance related files on back- up discs, creating graphics and logos for flyers, business cards, newsletters and brochures; editing and cropping dance photos and videos, helping out with workshops and special events, developing and hosting USA Dance related websites and sending out weekly e-mail announcements to USA Dance members. His "love for dance" has inspired him to seek more ways to volunteer.

Starting right after college, Kunkel was drawn to try the country dancing clubs around Dallas; after all, it's Texas. After a few group classes, he was hooked and wanted to learn more. "I enjoy the social interaction of dancing, the exercise, and going to clubs to dance" Kunkel explained, "I may be learning a little bit of smooth dance one month, and then the next month I may focus on a little bit of swing or salsa". He's always open to try something new. He also enjoys choreographing routines to music and competing. Kunkel has competed in the Texas Star Ball, the Southwestern Invitational, the Sapphire Ball, and the Oklahoma Challenge. "I will always have a love for dancing," he added. Kunkel works for Cambium Learning, a national educational publishing company in Dallas.

He is the graphics manager and oversees the designs and layouts for all of the textbooks. In his spare time, he likes to roller blade, canoe, or just lay out by the pool and catch some rays. One of his hobbies includes painting, for which he has had about half a dozen paintings displayed at the State Fair of Texas over the years. Considering how much he's contributed, it's a wonder how he manages his time so well. In regard to Kunkel, Linda Succi, President of the Rhode Island "Chapter of the Year:' remarked, "I met Craig at the National Dancesport Championships for the first time. I found him charming and a great dancer". Kunkel stated, "I was not expecting it at all. No one had even told me that they had nominated me for the National Volunteer of the Year award. The rest of my evening that day, all I could do was smile and feel good about myself". For how many smiles Kunkel has put on the faces of others this year, perhaps others will follow his example and go the extra mile as he has.

Craig Kunkel