If you haven’t already seen a Dragon Boat on the Muskingum River, you’re about to! The MOV’n Dragons are getting ready to start their 16th season, and are very excited about that.

The MOV’n Dragons is a group of Cancer survivors or (as they prefer to be called) thrivers, and supporters who come together from late Spring to mid fall for “fun, fitness, and friendship.” You do not need to be a Cancer survivor, and paddling experience is not necessary. So if you’re looking for something new for 2022, you might give Dragon Boating a try.

What is Dragon Boating? Originating in China more than 2000 years ago, Dragon Boating was part of a celebration of the revered dragon which people believed would ensure them bountiful crops and good health. It is now being prescribed as a physical regimen for breast cancer thrivers to overcome the side effects of surgery, and to provide emotional support and friendship.

The organization’s founder, Gretchen Feldmaier, knew that one day her breast cancer would return, so she recruited a core group of friends in late 2005, and asked them to make her vision come true. “And boy did we ever!” said Judy Baker. “To this day, when I’m in the boat or watching a practice I look up to the sky and say ‘Thank you Gretchen’ – for me and so many others.”

The organization has two boats now, each 40 feet long accommodating 20 paddlers on 10 seats. The coach sits in the front, facing the back, and there’s a steersperson in the back keeping us on course. Paddler strength is not nearly as important as synchronization. “When we are all paddling at the same pace, we practically fly through the water!” said Judy.

When the group holds practices twice a week, they are sometimes just for fun, and other times to prepare for Festivals, where those members who want to, compete in Dragon Boat races.

The goals are simple and important enough to mention again:  FUN FITNESS AND FRIENDSHIP! “We welcome anyone who shares any of these goals,” said Judy. Those interested can learn more at MOVnDragons.org or call, text or email the group’s President, Judy Sites (740/504-8365) or judyasites@yahoo.com.

To quote one of our original members: “I’ve never been part of a team before, but this team is amazing! In addition to helping me stay fit, the support and friendship I’ve gained over the last 16 years are immeasurable. But then, that’s what we’re all about!”