In June, your board allowed a statement from the chair to be shared in the wake of unrest in our cities. That statement may have felt challenging or appeared divisive. We were acknowledging the tragedy and emotion of the events. We appreciate those of you asking us, “How does our club live our mission?”
Your Board is committed to our mission, which reads, “The Minnesota Dragon Boat Club (MNDBC) and its members are ambassadors of the international sport of dragon boat racing. We strive to provide education, training and competition for a medley of paddlers and experience levels, centering on opportunities for cancer survivors and those touched by cancer. We support our community through education and wellness promotion, and sharing our guiding principles of competition, challenge, compassion and community.”
Here are some ways we have put our mission into action so far this year:
- We established a relationship with St. Paul Parks and Recreation and planned events to bring new paddlers to our boat, including a collaboration with their adaptive recreation program building to our goal of establishing a paradragon team
- We collected resources and delivered food and supplies to support the Little Earth Residential Association during the protests immediately following the killing of George Floyd, when their homes were cut off from power as well as access to groceries and basic supplies, to support our value of making a difference in the communities in which we paddle
- We engaged our membership in online community-building activities such as our spring club meeting, trivia night, and our book/movie club discussion, to educate club members about dragon boating and learn a bit more about each other as we encourage one another
- We created an online space using a private Facebook group for club members to support and motivate one another
- We offered in-person paddling opportunities and online “coach’s corner” events for club members to experience time on the water and learn how to improve their own paddling experience.
As we move into the remainder of 2020 and look toward 2021, here is how we are moving forward:
- We are offering in-person, physically distant fitness classes to continue to build our own resiliency
- We are holding a fundraiser with goals to provide funds to support paddler participation at festivals by covering more expenses, making the sport more accessible to a wider diversity of participants; to build reserve funds to ensure the club’s long-term stability; to establish a fund for purchase of a second boat, enabling us to build our club’s capacity
- We are establishing a formal relationship with the Minnesota Cancer Alliance, to collaborate where our missions overlap
- We are exploring mutually beneficial relationships with organizations in Minneapolis in addition to St. Paul Parks and Recreation, to bring dragon boating to those living in the west metro area
- We are planning an Introduction to Dragon Boating mini-course for club members, to place this activity in context within the cultural history of China as well as inform on the modern aspects of this global sport.
We know folks come to our club for a variety of reasons, and stay for yet others. Whether that’s fitness, recreation, camaraderie, competition, self-improvement, friendship, or any other reasons, we remain an open community supporting the growth of this international sport and the elements that bring ourselves and the communities in which we paddle physical fitness and a state of wellness. Here in the middle of 2020, we recognize we are in a moment of instability and uncertainty; when we all put our paddles out on the water, we will steady the boat.