Kinser ladies’ dragon boat team is racing for cause

The Kinser Women’s Dragon Boat Team has a special cause when they compete in this year’s upcoming Naha Haarii.

Boats are going in the water Saturday, being handled by a determined squad of women who this year are Dragon Boat racing for a very special cause, “Rowing for Wilson.”

The team holds a training session at Camp Foster pool.

The 36-woman team –32 rowers, a head leader and three alternates—is dedicating this year’s race activity to Wilson Patterson, who was diagnosed with Burkitts Leukemia a year ago, causing his family to have to leave Okinawa for treatment.  They’re ready to go, complete with new tee shirts that include the Leukemia Ribbon showing support for the cause, and “Rowing for Wilson.”

Alice Dickinson, the leader who sits at the front of the Dragon Boat, setting the rhythm for the team’s rowing, has been with the Kinser Ladies Dragon Boat Team since its inception in 2000.  She, along with Heather Zook and Marilyn Simpson, are captains for this year’s team, while Ana Lora is designated ‘First Mate’.  The team began preparations for this year’s events in February, using the past several months to work out at the Camp Kinser Fitness Center and the Camp Foster Pool.

The current leaders of the Kinser Ladies’ Dragon Boat Team Alice Dickinson, Heather Zook, Marilyn Simpson and Ana Lora.

Any woman who lives or works on Camp Kinser can join the team.  Members are chosen based on criteria that includes attendance, synchronization, performance, stamina, attitude and dedication.  The team’s Facebook Page “Kinser Ladies Dragon Boat Team” keeps people up to date on what the team is doing, how to join, etc.

The team is preparing for the upcoming Naha Dragon Boat Races held during Golden Week.  This is the first time the team’s raced for a cause.  The team last year won their heat.