Member Benefits

Benefits of Machestic Dragon Membership
The Machestic Dragons, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit, is open to all breast cancer survivors (BCS), regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Family members and friends (supporters) are welcome to join and paddle as well (must be at least 14 years of age). All members may participate in practices, BCS team members compete in BCS-specific races/divisions and supporter members compete in other race divisions.

Our mission:
To raise awareness of breast cancer and the benefits of dragon boat paddling.
To show and mentor others who are weakened by the struggle with breast cancer that there is life after this disease.
To encourage and empower ourselves and others to face our dragons with an indomitable spirit.
To look beyond today to a future filled with hope and promise.

According to some scientific research studies, dragon boat paddling is the BEST long-term therapy – both physically and mentally – for breast cancer survivors. Joining the Machestic Dragons enables you to regain a healthy lifestyle with those who have shared the breast cancer journey.

No special athletic skills or prior experience needed!

Beginning in 2015, a Non-Paddling Associate Member level has been initiated at a reduced membership fee. This member plays a supporting role on the team and receives all benefits listed except those related with participation IN the boat (i.e. may not be a paddler at any practice or event).

Paddlership Fund – No breast cancer survivor should be prevented from joining the Machestic Dragons because of the cost of annual membership dues. To assist those who demonstrate a true financial hardship, the Paddlership Fund is available to BCS members and funds will be allocated confidentially on a case-by-case basis.
For more information about Paddlerships, please email your questions to: paddlerships@machesticdragons.org

Insurance – covers Machestic Dragon members at practices, races, and other Machestic events.

Equipment – basic equipment needed at practice sessions and races are available to members. This includes paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs-life vests), butt pads, and boats.

Boats – The Machestic Dragons own 2 dragon boats (each 40’ long, seating 20 paddlers); our original boat is a heavier, more stable vessel and the other is a new, lighter racing boat.
News Flash: in 2015, the Machestics expect to complete raising the funds to purchase another new boat. This would allow our older, heavier and more stable boat to be dedicated to those in re-hab /recovery from cancer treatment or injuries and to facilitate the learning process for new, inexperienced members.

Coaching/Practice – 3 practice sessions of 1.5 to 2 hours are scheduled weekly during the season (mid-April to mid-October), to choose from. Practices are 2 evenings per week with a coach (Tues. and Thurs.) and 1 morning per week (usually Sun.) when the team practices on its own in a more relaxed environment. You may attend any practice, weather permitting.

Team Composition – The Machestic Dragons is a breast cancer survivor nonprofit organization and one BCS team competes at a recreational level. In 2015, the Machestics added a second BCS team that trains more intensely for other race events. To enable survivors to enjoy paddling with family members/friends who are supporters, the Machestics have a mixed team as well. The organization has members (survivors and supporters) ranging in age from 14 to 85.

Races – The Machestic Dragons participate in festivals/races primarily on the U.S. east coast. The Race Committee evaluates dates, registration costs, accommodations, and travel considerations. The Breast Cancer Survivor (BCS) teams-recreation and competitive, race in the BCS division, while the Machestics Mixed Team (male and female members) or an all-Women’s team (BCS and female supporters) race in other divisions. The Machestic Dragons pay toward race registration fees as the annual budget allows.

Winter Fitness Training – From January to mid-April (pre-season), a certified fitness trainer, who paddles and is interested in helping our nonprofit, opens her fitness facility for an hour group session on Saturday mornings solely for the Machestic Dragons, FREE of charge. Her goal is to help the Machestics with body tone, strength, and endurance (especially the core area which may have been compromised by breast cancer). She varies the routine and equipment to keep everyone challenged and provides alternate ways of performing the exercises to those who need it. ALL members are invited and welcome to participate.

Lymphedema Sleeve – The Machestics will reimburse BCS members for a lymphedema (arm swelling) sleeve/gauntlet up to $50 each year that is not otherwise covered by insurance.

Hospitality and Care Committee – The Machestics care about each other and strive to reach out to members who have special concerns, lost a loved one, need a ride or just a listening ear.

Communications – In addition to customary email, telephone and meetings, the Machestic Dragons use Evites, our “Paddles Up” newsletter and a Google Calendar on our website to keep members informed about dates, events, plans, accomplishments, fundraisers, etc. Evites are used for all practices, races, and team fundraisers and events. Paddles Up includes varied information about races and events, including the Machestic Dragons’ signature annual event, “Paddle for Pink” – a large dragon boat community festival and races in June at Mercer Lake, West Windsor, New Jersey. The Machestic Dragons have two websites – www.machesticdragons.org and www.paddleforpink.org and are on Twitter and Facebook.

Social Events – Being a Machestic is not just about physical recovery, but also about the emotional growth enhanced by social interaction with fellow survivors and supporters. The Machestic Dragons have various socials – from picnics to restaurant excursions to activities with other BCS teams. Our big fundraiser social events are the “Paddle for Pink” dragon boat festival and Dragon D’Vines winetasting and live music event.

Special Sessions – In 2014, the Machestics began offering special optional sessions that are focused on enhancing the quality of life and offer insight about health-related topics. These sessions – which may be a single gathering or offered in multiple meetings – are presented by our member(s), nonprofit affiliates, or topic experts and will be free of charge to our members.

Camaraderie – it can’t get much better! The members of the Machestic Dragons believe in savoring the moment – without any pity parties – and embrace a nurturing, mentoring, supportive environment. The members are strong, resilient, people who care about others and are determined to take care of themselves in order to be strong for others. The Machestic Dragons have a firm commitment to the organization’s mission within the breast cancer community and strive to demonstrate strong leadership in promoting breast cancer awareness, finding a cure, having a positive outlook and living a healthy lifestyle.