Chinese School of CAACF 2019

Despite having the youngest and lightest crew, REACH managed to surpass expectations once again this year. We raced a 2:31:51 time our first race, 7 seconds faster than our team record, a time we would have considered inconceivable before the festival. Dragon boat racing is a fulfilling experience. Every paddler is equally important because every person on a 20 paddler boat is pushing the boat forward. Each time we pass the finish line after 2 ½ minutes of fervent energy and chaos, there’s a breath of relief and a sense of accomplishment, regardless of place. I’m incredibly proud of the team’s endeavors, and I know that REACH has the potential to become even better. I would also like to sincerely thank our coaches (Coach CK Lau and Coach John Chung), Ms. Pauline and Ms. Agnes, CHARGE, and the Orlando Rowing Club. Without them, the REACH Dragon boat team wouldn’t be the success it is today.  Amy LiKamWa, Captain 2015

Amy and the team
Amy as drummer

Hello! My name is Corey Hsiao and I am the Co-Captain of the REACH GWN Walgreen Dragon Boat Festival 2015 team. I have paddled with REACH for three years now in the festival and every year I learn a bit more about the sport dragon boat and my eagerness to compete grows.

However GWN Dragon Boat Race was especially meaningful this year as I was given the opportunity to be one of the two lead paddlers.  This role put me out of my comfort zone. I have been paddling since I was in 7th grade and worked to enhance the basic fundamentals such as form and synchronization. However this year, I had additional responsibilities to the team as lead paddler. Aside from remembering to all the fundamentals, the whole team relies on my ability to feel the speed of the team and select the pace that works best.  Lead paddler is a completely different experience from being in row 8 or in the engine. The lead paddlers have to lead. All the times before I have paddled there has always been someone in front of me or in the first row I could concentrate on and ensure I was right on pace. However in the first row there is no one in front of me, besides the drummer of course. The other lead paddler and I were on our own.

Corey and the team
Corey – the lead paddler on left

This newly acquired position was awkward to perform at first. But over time, I soon felt comfortable with the role thanks to consistent practice at Orlando Rowing Club and great coaching from local team CHARGE, Coach CK Lau and other CHARGE members.

I would also like to thank all REACH advisors and our sponsor Asia Trend for giving us the opportunity to race and I strongly encourage people of all ages to participate! It is a valuable team experience and competition that really makes you feel the adrenaline rush through your veins. If you are interested feel free to contact REACH and we would be glad to make you a part of our team next year! See you in 2016!  Corey Hsiao, Co-captain and Lead Paddler 2015

Alice (left) with her teammates

The word that stood out the most to me during dragon boating is Reach. To me, it does not only represent a technique but also an organization that I am proud to say I am part of. I have been participating in REACH dragon boat since my sophomore year. At first I was intimidated by the sound of the name dragon boat and the scenario of meeting new and athletic peers. However, I am glad that I decided to put my worries away and attempt at this new team sport. Dragon boat shows you what actual teamwork means. Everyone is important on the team, when we are on the boat we are one there is no individual. Every stroke and every bit of energy add up to our final score. Unfortunately, during this year’s dragon boat festival REACH was unable to win our division. However, our time this year has been the fastest compared to the past years. Through this experience, we have learned that winning is not the most important part of the race but it’s our constant improvement that matters the most. As a co-captain, I realized that organizing boat plans, doing paperwork, and making it to all the practice is not easy but I had a great experience. I worked with the most awesome captain, co-captain and all of the paddlers on the team. A special thank you to C.K. Lau for taking his time to coach REACH and Orlando Rowing Club for giving us a great place to practice. Without them, REACH dragon will not be possible in the first place. Also a huge thank you to Pauline Ho and Agnes Chau for sponsoring REACH and bringing us all together. It has been an honor to be the co-captain this year and I hope next year we will do even better. GO REACH!  Alice Fu, Co-captain 2015

The mission of REACH is to promote the Recognition and Experience of Asian Cultural Heritage by reaching out to the Central Florida community. REACH provides many wonderful programs to foster young leaders in the Central Florida community through cultural performances, classroom presentations and festivals.

Goals – REACH brings High School Asian Students Associations together in making a concrete difference in the Central Florida community.  REACH trains young leaders and provides personal growth to members through event planning, presentations and community outreach.  REACH provides a social and flexible environment for those members who are interested in getting involved, build friendships and level up their skills.

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In November 2012, REACH of Central Florida received ELLISON S. ONIZUKA HUMANITARIAN AWARD from Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.  ELLISON S. ONIZUKA HUMANITARIAN AWARD recognizes an individual or group which has demonstrated the highest ideals of courage, selfless giving, sacrifice, devotion and persistence in a significant project or endeavor which has benefited, or will potentially benefit, the community.

Sign up at http://www.reachocf.org/get-involved.html if you want to know more about REACH of Central Florida.