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Lots of Fun with Drachenboot (Dragon Boat)

Published: August 6, 2018

One of our Arbeitsgruppen (working groups) for the four-week campers was Drachenboot (Dragon Boat) -- preparing to race in the 13th Annual Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival in town on Saturday. Our team of seventeen campers (four-week credit villagers, Apprentices, and some two-week campers) and four Betreuer (counselors) represented Concordia Language Villages in the festival and the race.


The week before, the team was unable to prepare directly on the water, rather they practiced on benches in the Biohaus. They learned the proper form for Dragon Boat “the perfect triangle,” watched a video explaining Dragon Boat, and practiced relevant vocabulary for the race in German, such as Paddelblatt (paddle blade) and Trommler (drummer) and the history behind dragon boat racing.


On their first day of practicing in the water, the team also led the Dragon Boat Festival Parade through downtown Bemidji. The Chinese Language Village, Sen Lin Hu, was kind enough to lend us their dragon, Steve, which the team learned how to properly carry through the parade. This required learning specific rhythms for the drummer and also for the bells, which each team member had around one ankle.


On Saturday, the day of the race, the team received a professional steerer to help the team navigate. It was incredibly windy, so they needed fewer people on each boat -- fewer counselors and no drummer. The team did the 500 meter race (2.5 - 3 minutes) in Lake Bemidji twice, the second time with a drummer. Once they got back on rhythm, they were almost unstoppable!


The campers reported back saying that Zusammenarbeit (teamwork) was the most important. It was hard because sometimes -- especially without the drummer at first -- some people worried and went faster, but by the time the second round came about, the team was on track. They learned the strength and synchronization of the rowing was more important than the speed of the rowing. We can’t wait to see Waldsee back for the 14th Annual Festival!

Check out all the fun on the Waldsee Flickr!