Cleveland’s dragon boat paddling team, Wasabi Kraken, is thrilled to start paddling in this year’s annual paddle-a-thon which took place Nov. 19, to gain money for their summer trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Members hope to compete against international teams to showcase their abilities and get recognition worldwide once again.
Last year, the Kraken was under the pouring rain the entire 11 to 12 miles they paddled. Though, that didn’t stop the team from backing down. They went from the Ross Island bridge to Elk Rock Island in about three hours. This year the team paddled 14 miles into downtown Milwaukee. “The paddle-a-thon is an intense workout, but at the end there is a Potluck, so you get to eat,” said Eloise Steere, senior captain of the Kraken.
Parents, friends, and supporters came out and watched. The paddle-a-thon encourages people to contribute to the team’s funding for upcoming trips to Canada and other necessities they can buy with the money. You can donate by giving a certain amount of money in the form of a check or cash before the paddle-a-thon begins. The team has people sign a pledge sheet that states how much the person donated times the amount of miles the team managed to cover in the water during the paddle- a- thon. The donations have to occur the day of the paddle- a- thon and the money will be collected by Kathleen Fuller, the coach of the Wasabi Dragons.
At the end of the day, they gained around $2,000 dollars for the team’s trip last year. “We started doing our fundraiser last year and it was really successful. It raised a whole bunch of money and it discounted hundreds of dollars off of the price of going to Canada. It made so much cheaper for people to go. People were really responsive to the idea,” said Steere.
The team’s first paddle-a-thon proved to be successful, and the team managed to get a good amount of money. This shows the immense popularity the team has; fans didn’t disappoint when giving donations.
Astrid Kamali, a team member, expressed her worries for this year’s paddle-a-thon, specifically that the donations aren’t going to reach the team’s expectations of receiving $2,000 and above due to the loss of team members from last year’s graduating class. However, with the help of parents, friends, and fans, the team hopes to achieve their goal of making at least $2,000 or more money once again.
Overall, the team wants to go to Canada to compete and get some medals to show their triumph and hard work. Said Alma Avena, senior, “We did really good [last year], we got a good place. We just wanna do better and place higher this year.”