Dragons to Invade Vancouver Lake

21 May, 2015

Paddle for Life®, a Washington based non-profit group, is pleased to announce the 3rd Paddle for Life Dragon Boat Festival.  The races are Saturday May 23rd and Sunday May 24th at Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Washington.  Races will be from 9am to 3pm and the event is free for spectators.  The races are fund raiser to help local disabled veterans.  The event is over Memorial Day weekend because it is the time to reflect on the sacrifices the men and women of our military made to ensure our freedom.  It’s our turn to give back.

Local corporations and civic/community groups are encouraged to form teams for this family friendly all day event.  No experience necessary.  Teams will be provided all equipment and instruction.  There are two Corporate/Community divisions and you can have a mix of men and women.  Team sizes range from 10 to 25.  Each team will receive two practices and at least three races during the festival.  No experience necessary, all equipment provided.  It’s a fun day at beautiful Vancouver Lake Park!  Registration ends May 21st.  Veterans are encouraged to attend the festival.  Sunday morning at 9am Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt will ride the dragon in a special tribute race honoring our fallen solders.

The event features two days of spectator friendly racing at beautiful Vancouver Lake Park. The lake is one of the hidden jewels of Clark County. The park has a large sandy beach where the boats will load and unload and where spectators and participants can watch the races. Food is available for purchase from local favorites Steakburger to Go and Brewed as well as the highly rated Moroccan restaurant Gamila amongst others. Heathan Brewing will be at the event for another taste from local companies.

Dragon boating is the perfect team building sport.  Jeff Campbell, owner of Double Fifth Dragon Boating, says “We can turn a group of co-workers into a cohesive unit in about 45 minutes.  A lot of corporations spend thousands of dollars to send employees on retreats to try to achieve the same results.  Dragon boating is local, fun and effective.”  

The proceeds from the event will go to support the disabled veteran’s water sports program at Vancouver Lake.  The non-profit program is through Vancouver Lake Aquatic Club and helps local disabled vet’s access water sports like rowing and paddling.  In two years the event has raised over $15,000 to help purchase adaptive equipment and provide universal access to the docks and boats to veterans with any disability.   This years goal is $30,000.  The program is growing and in need of support. Veterans participate in this program at no cost.  

Dragon boating started 2,300 years ago in China.  In the past 25 years the sport has grown outside Asia from a few festivals to hundreds today.  The boats are very stable and the sport is easy to learn.  Paddlers range in age from 13 to well into their 80’s.  The sport is very popular in the area and it is not uncommon to see 8 or 9 dragon boats on the Willamette constantly on a Saturday morning.  That is nearly 800 athletes on the water over three or four hours.  Locally, there are seven boats at Vancouver Lake with regular practices open to all.

The event is sponsored by Paddle for Life Inc., Double Fifth Dragon Boating, Specialty Graphic Solutions and Vancouver Lake Crew.   Over 600 participants and 900 spectators are expected to attend.  All money raised stays in the area to directly and immediately help disabled vets.  Paddle for Life is a registered 501c(3) non-profit and donations may be tax deductible.

For more information on forming teams and entering or for information on sponsorships or donations contact Jeff Campbell of Double Fifth Dragon Boating.  971-222-3679 or info@paddleforlife.org  You can also visit the event website www.paddleforlife.org

For more information about the disabled veteran’s water sports program at Vancouver Lake contact Alan Stewart, Executive Director, Vancouver Lake Aquatics Club.  

Paddle for Life, Inc. is a Washington based non-profit group that supports and promotes the amateur sport of dragon boat racing. Vancouver Lake Aquatics Center is a non-profit group that supports rowing and paddling.


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