When the Millenium Dragon Boats hit the waters of Kalamalka Lake in Coldstream Saturday, Prospera Credit Union will once again have plenty to cheer about as Vernon staff — better known as the Prospera Piranhas — return to test their paddling skills against some of the best teams in B.C.
This is the second year that Prospera is the title sponsor for the Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival and according to branch manager Darrell Oshiro, the team is in good form.
“We’ve got a lot of returning paddlers as well as a few newbies on the Piranhas team,” said Oshiro.
“Once again, we are practicing hard and working closely with the Vernon Paddling Centre to get as much training in as possible before race day. As always, all of our Vernon staff are really excited and involved and it’s been a great team-building activity.”
The festival, which will feature 22 boats and 500 paddlers this year, is also a fundraiser and the Piranhas have come up with some innovative ideas to reach their goal of $2,000 including a penny drive to encourage people to put their out of circulation pennies towards a good cause, a bottle drive, 50/50 staff draws and hot dog sales.
They have also received generous donations from members visiting the branch to support the team’s efforts.
All of the funds raised by the dragon boat teams will go to support Vernon Jubilee Hospital for the purchase of critical breast cancer diagnostic equipment.
Last year, the festival raised $8,300 and this year the goal is to reach $10,000.
“Prospera would like to thank the Go Rowing and Paddling Association of Canada for the amazing job they have done in putting together this phenomenal event which is a favourite summer festival for the city of Vernon and an important fundraiser for the hospital,” said president and CEO Bruce Howell.
“We’d like to thank Prospera for their community leadership in the Okanagan region,” says Steve Frisch, executive director of the Go Rowing and Paddling Association.
“Supporting team activities such as dragon boat racing can change lives. We see it every day. Getting people outside, working hard and working together does more to build community than anything else. Thanks to all of the great people at Prospera.”