On Wednesday we celebrated the end of the first season for Ridgefield's weekly Dragon Boat recreational program. This summer we were able to provide a no-cost Dragon Boat paddling program offering weekly paddling to the community. The program has been more successful than we could have imagined and a dedicated group of paddlers committed to coming every week became a "team" that participated in the Paddle for Life race and won a medal in the Portland dragon boat races.
This successful program was made possible through the hard work of many volunteers, local non-profit organizations and the dragon boat community. In honor of these efforts, we presented several "Creating Community" awards at the end of season celebration. This award recognizes people and organizations that saw a unique and exciting opportunity to benefit the Ridgefield community - coordinated a true community effort to make the opportunity a reality - and, as a result, created a community program for residents and visitors to brag about and enjoy for years to come. They made the Ridgefield community better.
Creating Community Award Recipients:
- Mark Shaff and Joe Melroy: Joe brought the boats to Ridgefield, obtained permission from the Port to store them at the waterfront and - in partnership with Mark built a place to store the very heavy boats. Joe also came up with a way to move the boats in and out of Lake River.
- Ridgefield Lions Club: When we received the boats they were in need of repair and repainting. The Lion's Club took the lead on assuring fiberglass repair was completed, donated funds to the program, and obtained paint donations.
- Ridgefield Art Association: RAA stepped up to create the colorful design on the boats, actually painting the boats, and doing much needed sanding and paint touch ups before the season this year.
- Catch-22 Dragon Boat Team: This team helped create the vision for the program, provided coaching and experienced paddlers on a weekly basis throughout the season, developed less plans, and helped to promote the program to the dragon boat community.
- SPECIAL AWARD to Gail Alexander: Gail is the driving force behind this program, making it all happen. Gail obtained the boats and created the recreational program. Her passion for Lake River and preserving natural resources; ability to create community and contagious enthusiasm for making Ridgefield a better place all came together to make something unique and special.