Students with The Spirit of Fraser Valley Junior Paddling Program row their dragon boat across a lake. Students ages 13 to 18 are welcome to join the upcoming season; they’re encouraged to sign up by March 15, and practices begin on April 1. (Riana Neels/Contributed Photo)

Fraser Valley Junior Paddling program launches again soon

Looking for local recruits from ages 13 to 18

Let’s get ready to row!

The Spirit of Fraser Valley Junior Paddling Program is recruiting students interested in exploring the exciting world of dragon boat racing. The junior program is an ongoing branch of the Fraser Valley Paddling Club (FVPC) and is open to all youth paddlers ages 13 to 18.

Riana Neel helps coach the Junior Paddling Program, and it has grown to about 24 paddlers.

WATCH: Harrison Dragon Boat Regatta

“For me, it’s really about the students getting fresh air and getting into a team sport without having to spend a lot of money,” Neels said.

Neels said registration should ideally be done by March 15 but newcomers are welcome throughout the season, which runs from April 1 to July 1. The FVPC provides all necessary equipment; all students will need to bring is clothing appropriate for the weather, a water bottle and snacks.

Practices are held on Wednesdays at 4:3o p.m. starting April 1.

RELATED: Kids finish first year of paddling

The cost is $40 with financial assistance available if needed. Transportation is provided – students come from all over from Chilliwack to Harrison – and will stop at most major schools to pick up students for practice and regattas.

The club competes in a number of regattas throughout the year, including the DragonZone Junior Regatta and the local Harrison DragonBoat Regatta and the Harrison Battle of the Paddles.

For more information about the Junior Paddling Program and to learn about how to register, contact Riana Neels by emailing

According to the FVPC website, donations from local people and businesses as well as organizations such as the Optimist Club helps sponsor this program to keep it affordable for students.

The FVPC was established in 2001 and has grown to a total of about 140 members across the Fraser Valley from ages 13 to 65 and beyond. To learn more about how you can help or to join the FVPC, visit them online at

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