Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Club
Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit with the mission to promote breast cancer awareness and to engage all members in living each moment fully through the fun and camaraderie of dragon boating. The mission is also to encourage the development and support for the sport of dragon boat racing in Brevard County and the State of Florida. Heart and Soul Dragon Boat team was formed by Beth Gitlin for breast cancer survivors under the umbrella of Space Coast Dragon Boat Club, a 501(c)3 that runs the BOW WAVE dragon boat camps every spring from Oars and Paddles Park. Heart & Soul Dragon Boat Team grew to include many supporters and became its own 501(c)3 in 2021.
Anyone 18 years or older is welcome to become a member. No prior experience is required to join and people of all levels of fitness are encouraged to participate. By joining the Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Team, members agree to actively participate in the team and its many programs.
"DOCTORS SAVED OUR LIVES " "DRAGON BOATING SAVED OUR SOULS"
Heart and Soul "Sisters" - Breast Cancer Survivor Team
“After all of the treatments are done, the checkups over, and you get a clean bill of health, you’re still not back to yourself. Survivors often think, ‘OK, now what?’ You don’t want to talk about it. You still feel bad. This gives survivors a chance to do something, a place to go to move forward, and a way to feel camaraderie as we strive for a common goal,” Beth said
Thanks to the oncologist in Canada who discovered the benefits of dragon boating to his breast cancer patients. It really is a like a "floating" support group on the water. The bonds and friendships you develop along the way are simply icing on the cake.
Every four years a breast cancer survivor participatory festival is held that hosts over 120 breast cancer survivor dragon boat teams from all over the world. The Heart and Soul Breast Cancer Survivor Team participated in the 2014 IDBPC event held in Sarasota, Florida. In July 2018 we attended the next one in Florence, Italy.
Premier Women's Team
Club Mixed Team
Although the Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Team was originally started as a breast cancer survivors team, it quickly piqued the interest of others here in Brevard County. Beth wanted to provide those individuals with the same opportunity to improve their overall health and fitness through dragon boating.
In 2015 Heart and Soul established two teams, one Breast Cancer Survivor Team, and one Supporters Team. Over the last couple of years, Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Team has grown to three supporter teams.
Many supporter team members have also been affected by cancer through loved ones and friends and understand our mission for cancer awareness and prevention.
We all have the same goal - to improve our health and fitness, have fun and to support the efforts of our "Sisters" surrounding cancer awareness.
When and Where We Paddle
Although we are fortunate to be able to paddle year-round, our official paddling season begins in February and goes into early December. Regular practices are held on Wednesday and Sunday evenings as well as a high intensity practices (HIP) held on Saturday mornings for our more competitive members. All practices are held at Oars and Paddle Park at 1329 Banana River Blvd in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. We check in and gather at the pavilion before each practice. Arrival time is 30 minutes prior to boarding the boat to allow time to obtain your equipment, exercise, line up and load the boats.
Regular practices are typically 75 minutes long and can include any of the following depending on the coach’s plan: a 2000 meter warmup, technique and/or endurance drills, race start sequence practice, timing exercises, and races of various lengths ranging from 200 meters to 500 meters. The Saturday HIP practice is only 60 minutes long due to its high intensity, and primarily concentrates on speed, strength and endurance drills for those members who regularly compete in festivals or are training for higher level competition.
Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Team competes in different divisions at race festivals, dependent on what types of races are being offered. These are some of the divisions in which the team has competed:
• Heart and Soul Breast Cancer Survivors (BCS or sometimes called BCP)
• Heart and Soul Senior B Women (Ages 50+)
• Heart and Soul Senior C Women (Ages 60+)
• Heart and Soul Mixed (all ages, both genders)
• Heart and Soul Open (all ages, usually mostly men)
The Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Team not only practices three days a week, we also participate and host several events throughout the year. Whether you are interested in reading about our introductory paddling sessions, community events, our socials, race and festival results or other miscellaneous items check out our "Team News Updates" listed below.
Heart and Soul took part in the Clermont races on 4/9/2022. It was a beautiful day, but got a little windy toward the end of the races! A lot of fun was had by all, and our Breast Cancer Survivor team took 1st place in their category, and our Senior B team took 3rd. Congratulations…
This past year Heart & Soul had a record number of participants trying out for Team USA. Making the team from Heart and Soul were Danielle Raines, Andrea Varela, Maria Cochran, Beth Gitlin, and Jenny Lyons. From team member Maria, “The journey, while challenging and stressful at times, has been life-changing. In addition to the…
Under the leadership of Coach Lauren Hardman, the Heart & Soul Senior B Women’s team competed at the Club Crew National Championship in early October at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota and came away with a berth to Worlds! Members of the team worked extremely hard with both on water and off water training. They…
What a crazy year we had in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic raIsed havoc for our team and the dragon boat community as a whole. It’s rather hard to social distance in a dragon boat causing team practices to be cancelled, the international Club Crew Championship scheduled for France was cancelled and all our local festivals…
Heart & Soul sent two teams to participate in the SRDBA Regionals held on Saturday, May 11th in Sarasota, Florida. Both teams exceeded their previous best times in all events (200m, 500m and the 2k) which in itself was an amazing accomplishment. The BCS team won Bronze in their division and the Sr B Women’s…
Every April dragon boat paddlers from across the country, Canada and beyond converge to Oars and Paddles Park for a week-long training camp. Space Coast Dragon Boat Camp has been training dragon boat paddlers for many years and Heart and Soul is fortunate that this camp is right in our back yard. Thanks to a local…
Danielle Raines is awarded the Hype Mattingly Scholarship enabling her to attend the BOW Dragon Boat Training Camp. Hype was an amazing coach, paddler, advocate for women in dragon boating and so much more. We are so proud of Danielle. CONGRATULATIONS!!
Heart and Soul team member, Maria Cochran also paddles with the Tarpons Dragon Boat Team. She recently participated in the Pan American Club Crew Championship held in Tobago and brought home the GOLD!! We are all so very excited for her accomplishments, especially Danielle and Leigh 🙂
Heart and Soul Dragon Boat Team members have earned a spot on the TEAM USA Dragon Boat Team. In 2018, two members, Jacie Stivers and Kevin Kaylor made the team and participated last year in China. In 2019, three new members earned a spot on the 2019 TEAM USA, Donna and Bob Hobrick and Maria…
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