After two years in the planning, OPD’s Student Program came afloat in 2016.
Middle School Program – The Program targets middle school students age 15 and under with the goal of initiating them to a team sport and to engage them in acquiring basic leadership skills. The four to five months intensive training culminates in the team participating in the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival in July. The ultimate test is for the team to demonstrate its ability to work cohesively as a team, which is one of the key elements in order to be successful.
OPD’s Student Program receives a lot of focus and attention because the program also prepares the team for the future. Many of the students end up loving the sport, and continue with OPD as regular paddlers or they join a high-school team. A few even move into training to become coaches and steers, which testifies to the success of the program in forming our leaders of tomorrow.
In addition to the health benefits from the sport of dragon boating, these middle school students learn the values associated with team work. They also learn leadership skills that are so critical as they grow up and become our future. In short, the Student Program is an alternative way to develop our leaders of tomorrow.
The Tiger Sharks have brought home silver from the Long Beach Festival three years in a row.
In June 2017, the Tiger Sharks participated in the Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival. That trip was indeed tons of fun and excitement! It was a tough 2-day competition but hard work paid off. Despite the lack of sleep, the heat, and the skipped lunches with back to back races for all of us, Tiger Sharks pulled it off as they surged with determination and might through the finish line with a time of 2:13.673 thereby grabbing gold in the Canada Leaf Junior B Championship. The second place time was 2:13.940. It was such a proud and joyous moment for the racers to receive the gold medals, which made the rest of the trip all the more enjoyable.
In July 2018, the OPD U16 (Under 16) students competed in the 11th IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Szeged, Hungary. In addition to making OPD stand proud on the podium, this trip created excellent memories and friendship with teams from all over the world, memories that will be etched forever.
High School Program – OPD supports high-school students by hosting and providing resources to Team USA in its recruiting and try-out efforts and training activities. Additional programs are in the works.