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The Rotary Club's Dragon Boat Race

The Rotary International organisation is undoubtedly one of the oldest charities and has been making history ever since its inception in 1905, with over 1.2 million-member worldwide.

The Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope was chartered in 1958 and for the last 57 years has been serving the various communities of the Southern Cape Peninsula. Today, there are 30 active Rotarians - ordinary people who, using their vocational qualifications and experiences, volunteer their services to those less fortunate and work hard to ‘do good in the world’ and make it a better place.

The biggest project ever undertaken by the Rotary Club has been the Valley Development Projects, Open Door Child Safety Centre, which is tangible evidence of Rotary’s motto of ‘Service above Self’. Once completed, the R2 million project, which won the Rotary District’s award for best community project this year, is expected to provide care and support for abused children and women in Ocean View as well as in Masiphumelele two townships, just outside of Fish Hoek. “Most of our projects have been restricted to the local areas of need” explains Bev Frieslich, current President of the Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope. “However our services extend to all ages and groups that are in desperate need of assistance and reinforced by our commitment to Early Childhood Development, acknowledging the fact that first 1,000 days of a child’s life as being critical to their future education, health and success into adulthood”.

Education is very important which is why the Rotary Club helped build Pre- Primary Schools in Ocean View and Masiphumelele as well as providing books, dictionaries, chess sets, (and )uniforms and stationary to other primary schools in Lavender Hill and Khayalitsha. Other campaigns include popular feeding schemes and soup kitchens, the refurbishment of the Antenatal Clinic of the local False Bay Hospital, the provision of vital health services at the annual three day Rotary Family Health Days project and the Support for Operation Shoebox (scheme), which gifts underprivileged children with a present for Christmas.

Yet in order to remain active and help even more communities, the Rotary Club relies heavily on the goodwill and generosity of business and community sectors to raise much needed funds. Their ninth Annual Dragon Boat Regatta to be held at Zandvlei on Saturday 3rd October 2015 is the club’s major fundraising project and promises to be a wonderfully exciting and fun packed event, suitable for the entire family and a great team building day for employees of companies.

Each eleven man team, comprising ten paddlers plus a drummer with an experienced helmsman from the Western Province Dragon Boat Association, will challenge each other in various heats, culminating in a nail-biting final for the winner’s trophy. Other prizes will be presented for including, the Best Construction Team, Best Team Spirit and the Best Dressed Team.

Families and friends can watch and encourage from their vantage point at the banks of the vlei, with hot & cold beverages, light snacks and a children’s play area with games & face painting also available. Self catering, which is encouraged, is always a popular option for companies wanting to enjoy a great day out. A valuable investment per team boat of R 5, 000.00 (less than R500 per person) will allow the Rotary Club to serve the needs of local communities more effectively.

“As well as fundraising this is a fantastic platform for the public to see the work done by Rotarians, get personally involved and perhaps even be inspired to join as a Rotarian. Those companies that are involved also benefit from this event which is a perfect opportunity to claim for CSI points and have their corporate profiles branded on the camp sites” explains Bev.

No experience is necessary; the only requirement is that participants are keen to have a great time and those that require a little extra training can do so at the V&A Waterfront. Managed by experienced members of the Western Cape Dragon Boat Association, this promises to be a feel good, fun day in the sun for all the family.

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Originally published on 21 Aug 2015
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