Paddle-a-thon coming to Pemberton 

Pemberton Canoe Association hosts major fundraiser on July 9

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVE STEERS - Paddling all over Three Pemberton Canoe Association members recently attended the Va'a World Sprints in Australia and the organization hopes to send others to big events as it holds a paddle-a-thon fundraiser this weekend.
  • Photo by Dave Steers
  • Paddling all over Three Pemberton Canoe Association members recently attended the Va'a World Sprints in Australia and the organization hopes to send others to big events as it holds a paddle-a-thon fundraiser this weekend.

Pemberton's paddlers are asking for a stroke or two in the right direction this weekend.

The Pemberton Canoe Association (PCA) is hosting its annual paddle-a-thon at One Mile Lake beginning at 10 a.m. this Saturday, July 9.

Commodore Karen Tomlinson said the public is encouraged to come out and cheer on the club's participants during the fundraiser. Members will be collecting pledges on site.

"We have paddlers from the clubs doing their laps, so those are the people that chose to participate and are fundraising for the club," she said. "They have to just get out in whatever boat they want and they're going to do 30 minutes of continuous laps.

"We're going to count laps and we'll give out some prizes for the most laps."

After the experienced paddlers wrap up, anyone can hop into one of the vessels and try their hand at it, as the club is also hosting an open house from noon until 3 p.m.

"People can come down and try out some boats," Tomlinson said. "We're going to have the dragon boats out. We're hoping to have enough people out where we can have a little fun dragon boat race between two boats.

"We'll have our outrigger canoes out and our whitewater kayaks out."

Tomlinson hopes to see between 50 and 100 people out on Saturday, but knows good weather will bring out a base of people to the beach regardless.

"If it's a really sunny day, there will be lots of people down there anyway so we could grab people on the beach and throw them in a boat and let them try things out," she said. "We really want to promote it for adults, too. Lots of times, we get lots of kids that come out, but we would really love to see adults come out and try our dragon boats and canoes, mostly as a way to see if we can recruit some new members for our adult programs. I know our dragon boat team is looking for some new members."

Tomlinson said she's hoping to build on last year's total of $3,500 to reach $4,000, though with the event being later than last year, fewer paddlers are available to participate.

She added there are several projects within the club that could use a funding influx.

"We have a few things in mind for what we want to use the money for. One is for the purchasing of new equipment for our program because our program's growing," she said. "One other thing we're trying to do is encourage our youth paddlers to get their coaching certification so they can then help with the club and help coaching the younger kids, so we want to try to offset some of their costs."

Tomlinson noted proceeds from the 2015 paddle-a-thon recently helped cover the cost of the coaching course and accommodation for three paddlers.

She added with athletes heading to B.C. Summer Games later this month, nationals later this summer and the International Dragon Boat Federation World Nations Championships in China next year, any support they could provide to athletes would be more than welcome.

Those who are unable to attend but would still like to donate can visit www.bcpaddleathon.ca/ckbc.

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