Serving the Community

Service is a hallmark of the BRCC culture.

DragonMax team members generously volunteer their time to pass along their passion for water activities to the general community, especially to youth. Adult paddlers model their stewardship and citizenship as they work alongside high school members who join in volunteering at key community events, including the City of Berkeley’s Bay Festival.

Schedule a Dragon Boat Field Trip

Given that BRCC members participate in a sport that is still amateur in nature and requires a great deal of personal and financial sacrifice and investment, the level of volunteerism within the organization is impressive.

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Free Dragon Boat Rides

BRCC is a key contributor to the City of Berkeley’s annual Bay Festival and Fourth of July celebrations, offering free dragon boat rides that allow hundreds of community members to experience the magnificent Berkeley waterfront in an up-close and personal way. While paddling around the Marina, festival attendees learn about the sport of dragon boat paddling, enjoy a unique view of the marina, and may even be lucky enough to spot a harbor seal. For many it is the first time in a boat on the Bay, and their experience stands to enhance their appreciation for what a treasure the waterfront is in our urban area.

4th of July Gallery

Youth Programs

As part of its primary focus on youth outreach, BRCC continues to prioritize hosting numerous school, camp and scout groups. Through these outings, diverse youth were introduced to the team sport of dragon boating and its history. They had the chance to get out on
the water that many of them had not had before and to see themselves and the bay from a new perspective. Some of the youth groups BRCC has hosted so far:

  • Summer Achievers

  • Soar for Youth

  • YMCA Day Camp

  • Shorebird Center Day Camp

  • Lighthouse High School

  • Berkeley Yacht Club Day Camp

Youth Programs Gallery

High School Team

BRCC promotes competitive high school paddling and hosts a high school team, the Rough Riders, with students from El Cerrito, Albany and Berkeley high schools and beyond, providing boats, equipment, steering, and volunteer coaching at no charge to the school or to the participants. Race fees are subsidized by BRCC when the team competes in the local high school dragon boat competitions. The team is coached by a dedicated teacher and accomplished paddler from El Cerrito High who volunteers countless hours and has successfully grown team membership, cohesion, and success.

Other Community Service

In addition to providing time on the water to as many people as possible at the City of Berkeley events, BRCC supported a wide variety of non-profits through the donation of dragon boat outings as silent auction items in support of their fundraising efforts. BRCC values these outings at $500 for the excursion for 20 people. The auction winner follows up with a volunteer BRCC host who arranges for a mutually agreeable time for the actual paddling experience. For most of these guests it is their initial experience with dragon boating and may well be their maiden voyage in a human-powered boat on the Bay.

In past years, BRCC donated dragon boat experiences to:

  • Bike East Bay BikeTopia

  • SF Bicycle Coalition

  • North Coast Underway MARÉ Soirée

  • Albany Village School

  • Families Without Borders

  • Meals on Wheels

  • Special Olympics

  • Asian Health Services

  • Oakland Tech High School

  • Alameda High School

Hosting Dragon Boat Experience

In addition to these donations which are typically auctioned off at non-profit fundraisers, BRCC hosted dragon boat experiences for the following groups:

  • Ashby Village

  • Citizens for Eastshore Parks

  • Cal – Berkeley School of Social Welfare

  • Touro University Pharmacy students

Training Corporate Teams

BRCC again served as the host for training sessions for developing corporate teams to get them ready for participation in novice dragon boat races. AT&T continued to work with BRCC volunteer coaches and steers-persons to develop and hone the skills needed for racing. A number of these participants have become passionate paddlers and join DragonMax on the competitive circuit.

Stewards of the Marina

BRCC members regularly alert the Harbor Master of any significant hazards encountered in the water and have been known to drag logs back to the dock while paddling so that other vessels don’t collide with the potentially destructive debris. With DragonMax practice Monday through Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings year-round (conditions permitting), the team is one of the most consistent monitors of the waters. An El Nino year provides even more opportunity to serve as stewards of the Marina, picking up random plastic bags and other debris that could injure marine life or cause a boating accident.