If this is the year you committed to get in shape, meet new people and put a little adventure in your routine, the MOV'n Dragons team can help with all three goals.
Now beginning its seventh season on the water, the Mid-Ohio Valley's only dragon boat team has grown to more than 50 members, including 20 who were new to the group in 2012. Based in Marietta, the group is made up of cancer survivors and supporters, including people of all ages and fitness levels.
And while the boat won't be on the water until spring, activities already are under way.
The first meeting of the year is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Betsey Mills Club meeting room. Members also meet at the Indian Acres Boat Ramp at 9 a.m. each Saturday to walk the bike path. And the team's second annual pasta dinner fundraiser is planned for March 2 at the Betsey Mills.
"The Mov'n Dragons always welcome new paddlers," President Susan Corcoran said. "Dragon boating offers the perfect combination of good exercise and good fellowship, while taking part in the fight against cancer."
The group's other officers are Paulette Hall, vice president; Theresa Fitzgerald, treasurer; and Karen Wetz, secretary. Linda Lewis is now in her fifth year as coach.
How to join the MOV'n Dragons
Here are some opportunities to learn more about the team:
Attend the first meeting of the year at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Betsey Mills Club meeting room.
Meet at the Indian Acres Boat Ramp at 9 a.m. Saturdays for a walk, talk and coffee break.
Plan to attend the team's new member orientation in early May.
Weather and Muskingum River conditions permitting, the team paddles from April to October each year. Practices are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, with members attending as many practices as their schedules allow. The Marietta College boathouse serves as the MOV'n Dragons' headquarters during the paddling season.
The team offers opportunities for strenuous practices and competitions - members competed last summer in Columbus; Alexandria, Ky.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Toronto, Canada - as well as more leisurely practices and outings. To accommodate all types of paddlers, there are both competitive and recreational teams.
"It was just amazing," Denise Highland, of Coolville, said after her first-ever race in September. "I wanted to go again right away."
Like several members of the team, Highland is a breast cancer survivor - or thriver, as dragon boaters say. Other team members have never experienced cancer themselves, but they appreciate being part of a group that advocates for and supports survivors.
For more information, visit the team's website at www.movndragons.org.
Mary Alice Casey is a writer, editor and member of the MOV'n Dragons.