Phil Roberts on why he became a Dragon Boat helm and coach

Phil Roberts shares his story on why he became a Dragon Boat Helm and coach for the Bourne Water Dragons in addition to being a Bournemouth Sea Cadet

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Phil Roberts shares his story on why he became a Dragon Boat Helm and coach for the Bourne Water Dragons in addition to being a Bournemouth Sea Cadet

Why I became a Dragon Boat Helm and coach

'Phil', the sentence started, the Bourne Water Dragons are going to be joining us (Bournemouth Sea Cadets) at the boat station and they are looking for people to learn to coach and helm their dragon boat; I was intrigued, and so my journey to become a helm and coach began.

I was totally unaware of how dragon boats worked and how many people were involved, but the opportunity to get back on the water was a great attraction. All I needed to do was attend, learn, and pass my test for a basic helm. This I was able to do over the course of several weekends. Once this was done, I could then make progress to become a Level 2 Helm and Coach and be qualified to take a boat and its crew on the water for a paddling session. I guess that was the ultimate goal because if the Dragons don't have helms/coaches, we can't get the team on the water, which is something that is so important to the health and well-being of people who have had a brush with cancer, after all, that's what this team is all about… So the journey started and still continues.

The safety of the crew is our responsibility, as is the development of paddling skills in the individual person and team as a whole.

I was encouraged to produce interesting, challenging, and always fun sessions. The satisfaction I get from the role is knowing that I have played a part in the team experience and that they have all enjoyed it. Looking ahead, I hope the BWD will continue as the inclusive and positive dragon boat group it currently is. It is clear there are plenty of paddling opportunities out there, including foreign tours and local trips, with both local and International competitions should they like to participate. It will be great to see Bourne Water Dragons represented out there on the wider Dragon boat scene as the first, all-cancers, male and female Dragon Boat Team.

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