Karen Tomlinson, the commodore for the Pemberton Canoe Association, took over our instagram account for a week, to kick off paddling season, and her takeover made me realize how busy and sophisticated the local paddling scene has become (and therefore, how busy Karen, who was voted Citizen of the Year in 2012 for her commitment to the club, must be.)
I’d always known that, thanks to the coaching brilliance of Dr Hugh Fisher, that Pemberton had built a junior dragon boat team that had improbably enjoyed one of the longest winning streaks ever – the Laoyam Eagles had 16 victories at the annual Dragon Boat Festival in a row, until the streak ended, in 2015, with super respectable and celebration worthy podium finishes of second place, for several years.
What I hadn’t realized is that the Pemberton Canoe Association isn’t single-mindedly fixated on one single event… no, there are flatwater sprint paddlers, outrigger canoeists, dragonboat crews of all ages, school programs, as well as a host of summer paddling camps for kids and adults.
They also run corporate and team-building groups – which perhaps should be mandatory for any new Council or Board, as part of their on-boarding and orientation?
To register for any of the summer programs, swing by the Pemberton & District Community Centre or do it online via the SLRD.
As Hugh told me once, in an interview, paddling is an accessible sport. (Also, worth noting, in this steep and gnarly sporting venue that we call home, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll sustain a concussion from paddling…) And as Karen repeated in her takeover, paddling is a sport that you can do from very young all the way to “young at heart”, you can do it by yourself or with a group, and you can do it on all sorts of water!
This past weekend, the Laoyam Eagles were victorious, and got to stand on top of the podium again! Dan Falloon captures the energy perfectly in his great Pique article.
“Steersman Kolton Goochey was saying, ‘We’re in the lead! We’re in the lead! We’ve got to keep going!’ We all just kept powering along because in paddling, you never look up—you’ve just got to put your head down and paddle. Once we got to that finish line, we all looked up—We realized that we did it and it was just amazing.” ~ MacKenzie Williamson
“It feels great to be part of the winning legacy coming from Pemberton. ~ Isaac Tetreault
It’s a legacy that keeps powering forward, as people pass the paddle and the passion and more and more folk in our communities, from all ages, learn the power of pulling together.
Congratulations, Laoyam Eagles, and kudos to Hugh, Karen and the entire club!