News & Events
Fast, Fun and Furious – Dragon Boat Racing at its Finest.
The alarm went off and Jacob* woke up. It was still dark outside, but he was ready for the day. He and his fellow residents were about to pack up the van with an esky of food, cool drinks and lollies and drive into the city centre for the 2019 Sydney Lunar New Year Festival Dragon Boat Races. The Sandy Point Dragons were racing, and Jacob and other residents are part of the 22 strong crew this year.
Since the 2010/11 season the Sandy Point Dragons have invited residents from Odyssey House NSW to be part of the club and train with them on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as race at the regattas.
“Our relationship with Odyssey House began when one of our paddlers, Kerry Waters, was also the Principal of the Progressive Learning Centre at Odyssey House in 2010,” said Jill Stanton, Sandy Point Dragons. “She could see the potential in dragon boating for Odyssey House programs as well as broadening our club membership.”
“Being part of the crew has been a game changer for me,” said Jacob. “I could be having the worst day but knowing that I was hopping into the bus in the evening and going to the water, gave me something to look forward to.”
“The time to exercise and take a break from the facility was a big part, but also the beauty of being on the water. I am always in a better state of mind when I get back from training.”
The sense of community is also important to the Odyssey House crew. “The club members have welcomed us with open arms, and the opportunity to rejoin the local community for a short period time has been essential,” Jacob continued. “I have been able to get to know people, be part of a team, have fun, all before I leave Odyssey House. I definitely feel that I am better equipped for being out in the world, when that time comes.”
Sandy Point Dragons Boat Club is located in Sydney’s south west, on the southern side of Georges River where they use the scenic river as their training ground, and paddle as far west as the M5 bridge, and as far east as the Alford’s Point bridge. It was created by the local community as a sporting and fitness activity that utilised the wonderful waterway on their doorstep.
In addition to the crew from Odyssey House, Sandy Point Dragons have members with a wide range of occupations of interests from all over NSW as well as adjacent local communities in the Liverpool, Bankstown and Sutherland Shire areas.
“Sandy Point paddlers certainly have loved having our Odyssey crew on board,” said Jill. “The Odyssey paddlers regatta esky is “legendary and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of singing was done in the “bus” to training and regattas.”
“It was amazing to race through the waters to the pounding of drums in front of a packed crowd at Darling Harbour,” said Jacob. “We came back to Odyssey House after a long day of sunshine and lollies and shared our experiences with the other residents.”
“I hope that Dragon Boat racing never goes away as part of the Odyssey House program,” he continued. “It was essential for me and it may be just as essential for another resident.”
* Name changed for privacy reasons