It's a sprint-type event: a minute-and-a-half dash across a stretch of Kempenfelt Bay that usually leaves me out of breath and a bit sick, because I'm admittedly very out of shape. But what would ordinarily be impossible for just me becomes possible with a boatload of 20-odd others. The really interesting thing is that our speed isn't about strength and power. It's about synchronization. If we're all paddling our hardest but we're out of rhythm, then our boat won't pick up speed. This year we're doing something really special with Dragon Boat—we're competing in the women's only division and filling our boat with the women of Redwood. People who've lived at United House and our Second Suites in the past and present, members of our family support team, donors, board members, and volunteers will all be pulling together for Redwood.
Now for the really serious athletes, there's the Mudders for Mothers team running Tough Mudder. My husband Kevin has done this one twice, among many of our friends. This requires a lot more training and commitment. The team runs a gruelling 18 km up and down ski hills at Mt. St. Louis, stopping at intervals to complete obstacles involving things like ice water and electric shocks. Some of these obstacles are built so that one person alone can't complete them, but only with cooperation. Not only do the Mudders discover what they're made of, they learn the true meaning of teamwork, even literally standing on each other's shoulders.
It's a beautiful picture of how things work at Redwood Park Communities. We are all in it together, supporting one another, giving a hand, taking a hand, and cheering one another on. We're a team.
Here's where you come in: there are lots of ways for you to get involved. You could join one of these teams and give us a shoulder to stand on or another paddle. You can donate to one of these fundraisers and encourage your friends to do the same. That's an important part of teamwork, too. And you can join us on the shore or the sidelines and cheer us on. Because your encouragement means the world to us. Thank you.
Erin Hatton is a mom of 4, fiction author, and family support worker at Redwood Park Communities.