Looking up at the sun and leave shadows through the new team tent canopy

Last fall, the Knot A Breast Breast Cancer Survivor Team’s Executive decided to use a portion of the proceeds received from the City of Hamilton Enrichment Fund Grant to purchase a new team tent. After speaking to many teams at last year’s GWN races in Toronto, the work began to compare pricing, seek out a supplier and to design a new tent! Outlet Tags Canopies, Toronto, was the chosen provider with the best pricing and quick turn-around time. Several dragon boat teams have used this company and they produce a fantastic tent.

A special thank you to Steve Evans, who put in a considerable amount of time working on various colour and style templates. The KAB Board tossed around several colour schemes and decided on a nice clean look with white walls and canopy, and purple valance. Steve worked his magic on configuring the KAB logo to really stand out. The KAB logo is proudly displayed on the inside and outside of the back wall and on the canopy.

New team tent with KAB members resting under it
New Knot A Breast team tent

On May 26, 2019, as team members walked down the hill towards the team area at the 13th Annual Toronto Women’s Dragon Boat Festival, Heart Lake Conservation Area, Brampton, they were greeted with a brand new, 10 ft. by 20 ft. team tent proudly displaying a full view of the Knot A Breast logo! Thank-you City of Hamilton for helping us with our team shelter and team spirit.

Knot A Breast Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team held their Annual General Meeting on May 11, 2019 at Macassa Bay Yacht Club (MBYC). Thirty members, the Board of Directors, Team Coach and Team Manager attended, approving the 2018 financial statements, committee reports and 2019 budget.

Important business of the meeting included presenting the H.T. Memorial Scholarship. This award is named in memory of Helen Therese Templeton, one of Knot A Breast’s biggest fans and supportors. Coined KAB’s “Mom”, she religiously attended water practices, and knew individual team members by name. Her smile and love of life were infectious. This year it was awarded to Grace Jones, granddaughter of long-time Knot A Breast paddler Nancy Jones. Grace is entering her 2nd year at Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, studying a double major in global studies and environmental studies. Congratulations Grace!

H.T. Memorial Scholarship
Nancy Jones, her granddaughter, Grace Jones awarded the H.T. Memorial Scholarship and Coach Kathy Levy

Members heard from the Team Coach, Kathy Levy. She reflected on a successful 2018 season highlighting the team’s first place win at the International Breast Cancers Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Participatory Dragon Boat Festival, Florence, Italy, the third time in a row that Knot A Breast has held this title. She also looked ahead to our newbies (members that have joined within the last year) getting into the boat for practice, and our upcoming competition at the 2019 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships, Regina SK.

The new Board of Directors were presented including, as pictured above, back row: Past-chair and Team Coach, Kathy Levy; Anna Candelori; Kathy Martin, Communications Officer; Kim Short; Jo-Anne Rogerson, Treasurer; Geri Schweinbenz; Donna Reise, Secretary; front row: Michelle Lapointe; Liz Psutka, President. Joining them is Team Manager, Ann Hewitson, back row on the right.

Following the AGM, Knot A Breast members got the clubhouse and grounds at MBYC ready for the paddling season, and witnessed MBYC lift the team’s two dragon boats into the water. Knot A Breast is grateful for the generosity of MBYC to host our waterfront home on the Hamilton Harbour. It is a great start to the 2019 paddling season.

Fork lift lefting the dragon boat into the water
Macassa Bay Yacht Club lift-in of the Knot A Breast dragon boat at the start of the 2019 season

By Kim Short, KAB Member

There is no better way to kick off the dragon boat season than participating in a training camp, especially when one gets to paddle at the beautiful, world-class Nathan Benderson Park in sunny Sarasota, Florida. This year’s training camp was held on April 28 to May 4, 2019. Members of Welland’s SNCC Warlocks, Sarasota’s Survivors in Sync, and London’s Rowbust and Pendragons joined thirteen members of the Knot A Breast Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team. Our practices were 90 minutes long, twice a day for seven days with expert coaching from Kathy Levy (Knot A Breast), Doug Jones (SNCC Warlocks) and Cheryl McLachlan (Pendragons/Rowbust).

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Training included team warm-ups and cool downs, technique drills, speed work, two video reviews with individual feedback, and endurance paddling. Over time, we learned to make adjustments to our technique and, by the end of the week, any on-looker would think we were one big crew paddling together. Amazing!

While the coaches worked diligently to help us improve our stroke and become better paddlers and teammates, and we did out best to execute their advice, we also had time for many laughs and enjoyment of the warmth and beauty of Sarasota, Florida. Most of us stayed at the Sun ‘N Fun RV Resort where we enjoyed full access to the swimming pools, hot tubs, gym, yoga studio and other amenities. Thanks to Tammy (Pendragons) for leading us in two relaxing yoga sessions to help stretch out our sore muscles and find some time to just breathe! We had fun evenings together, and an afternoon off to enjoy the hot and sunny weather (beach or shopping day!). Some of us also ventured out in the evening to sample the food at the local restaurants. We enjoyed paddling at the world-class, multi-use sports venue while admiring palm trees, native birds, turtles and alligators, yes, alligators!!

We celebrated at the farewell party, where newbies (first-time attendees to the training camp) were awarded with a special lei, and the men also received special recognition. Kudos were given to our awesome steerspersons, Donna and Terry. Great job everyone! Thank you to Steve, Verna, Lindsay and Sue (SNCC Warlocks) for organizing this awesome experience. Huge thanks to Kathy and Doug for your vision in offering this camp in Sarasota and giving so much of your yourselves to make us all better dragon boat paddlers.

As a third time participant in this training camp, I have to say it just gets better and better. It improves my paddling, I make new friendships, and I feel “ready, ready” to begin the dragon boat season. I can’t wait for next year!