Dragon boat club lands $50,200

Staff

The Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Club (BWDBC) here in Fort Frances has received $50,200 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation [OTF].
The club, which has held Dragon Boat Festivals on the river here for the past two Canada Days, will use the money to continue to develop the club and the festival.
The festival almost doubled in size its second year, and so it is fitting that Northern Community Development Services (NCDS), which hosts the festival, has been granted the money.
Jenny Greenhalgh, executive director at NCDS, said after unsuccessfully applying for funding for the Nov. 1, 2012 OTF deadline, she revamped her proposal for the March 1, 2013 deadline and it worked like a charm.
“I tried to make [the proposal] more focused and clear up any confusion,” she said.
“We knew we wouldn’t hear until after the Dragon Boat Festival, but it’s good for next year so that’s where most of this will allow us to improve the Dragon Boat Festival.
“I applied for another boat, a trailer, a storage unit for us to put our paddles and life jackets, some training, and some assistance in getting the production company [“22 Dragons”] to come in again,” Greenhalgh added, noting she got everything she asked for in her proposal.
News of the funding was a bit of a surprise for Greenhalgh. She learned that they had received funding listening to the radio on her way to work yesterday morning, and then found a letter from Sarah Campbell confirming what she had heard on her desk.
“We’re absolutely overjoyed,” she exclaimed. “It’s hard for us to raise that kind of money in the community.
“We can hold small races and competitions within the Rainy River District at any time,” rather than once a year when “22 Dragons” brings in a second boat, said Greenhalgh.
She explained how useful the other things they will receive will be.
“The fact that we have a trailer we can move the boats around on is a tremendous asset,” as they can move the boats around themselves rather than borrowing trailers, noted Greenhalgh.
Greenhalgh hopes that the trailer will arrive this year.
“For us to grow as a club, we need to be able to have the ability to improve our paddling techniques and steersmanship,” she continued, noting that bringing in a trainer will be a step they will take next year.
The funding will cut down on costs, meaning that more of the money raised will stay in the community and be given to local charities.
This year, money raised from the 2013 festival will be donated to Community Living Fort Frances and District, although the BWDBC will look at other local causes next year.
“It is going to be for local initiatives, not for big national charities,” Greenhalgh noted.
“I’d like to thank Sarah Campbell and the OTF for their generosity, reviewing our proposal, and being very helpful,” she finished.
For now, the BWDBC will continue to bring their one boat down to the Sorting Gap Marina every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for the community to try out.
The event is free, although participants are required to bring their own life jackets.
BWDBC encourages those interested to call NCDS earlier in the day so they can know how many people to expect.
The OTF, which provides grants to not-for-profit and registered charitable organizations, recently stated that they only receive a handful of applications from the Rainy River District each year and are encouraging more organizations to apply.
The only other successful applicant in the district was Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls which got $7,300 for its library.