Special Events

2023 – 25th Anniversary Celebration

The 25th Anniversary Celebration was held at the beautiful YMCA Camp Chief Hector, on a lovely fall day in September.  Over 80 ladies came together and had an amazing experience. 

 There were fun activities (archery, hiking and fire starting, etc.), phenomenal food (Prime Rib and homemade croissants, etc.), campfire, dancing and reminiscing.  It was fabulous to connect with each other, including new members and past paddlers. 

Hearing the amazing speeches reminded us of the importance of friendship, wellness, sport, comradery and the journey we are on together. It was the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of Sistership Dragon Boating.   

 A couple of quotes from attendees:  

Awesome planning, awesome day, thank you so much!  

Freddie Shoesmith

 Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for the Anniversary Celebration! What an enjoyable day from beginning to end! 


2019 – “The First Twenty Years” Race Shirt Banner by Laura Connolly

Twenty-one years of paddling in Sistership resulted in a large container of old race shirts waiting for landfill.

I had an idea to use the logos and imagery in these shirts to design a patchwork banner showcasing the shirts and preserving our history.

The banner project could not have completed this project without the expertise and machinery of two Alumni members—Kathleen Roberts and Marilyn Bayes.

At the 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM), the finished banner was presented to Sistership.

Although I treasured each shirt and the memories attached to each year, seeing the completed banner brings me joy. 

2018 – International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Dragon Boat Festival – Florence, Italy

Sistership had a wonderful experience participating in the first European IBCPC festival in July 2018. There were 121 teams from 18 countries and over 3,500 paddlers. 

We were thrilled to rank around the middle of the group. 

44th of 124 teams – 2:39.110

2017 – 20th Anniversary Celebration, “Twenty Years in Time”

The theme throughout the year was “20 Years in Time.” The celebration began with The Gala held in May at the Calgary Golf and Country Club. There were 106 attendees, including 10 of the original 24 members from 1998, 6 past presidents, 3 past coaches, 25 alumni members, and 74 active members with 12 new members.

The guest speaker was Dr. McKenzie, Canadian sports medicine specialist and founder of the Canadian Dragon Boat movement for breast cancer survivors. 

All attendees were given a special 20th Anniversary mug.

In June, we brought together Sistership family and friends for the Picnic and Paddle held at the Glenmore Reservoir. 

Then, during the Annual Calgary Dragon Boat Festival weekend, we celebrated with a dinner at Shanks. Visiting Breast Cancer Survivor Teams attended and helped Sistership Celebrate our “20 Years in Time.” Commemorative team jackets were available for the 20th anniversary. Team members participated in making the year successful and memorable.

2016 – Paddle For Life

In 2016 Sistership members, along with our fellow paddlers from the Calgary Canoe Club’s Outrigger program, were offered a unique opportunity to participate in an event called Paddle for Life. 

Paddle for Life is a fundraiser for the Pacific Cancer Foundation in Hawaii. Each 12-member crew raises funds, paddles from Maui to Lanai, camps overnight, and paddles back the next day.

Ocean paddling can be daunting, but this well-organized event is steeped in Hawaiian culture. It provides both a challenge and an amazing experience.

2014 – International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Dragon Boat Festival – Sarasota, USA

In October 2014, Sarasota hosted the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) Dragon Boat Festival, held every four years. 

More than 2,500 women and men from ten countries, comprising over one hundred teams, gathered in Sarasota in October 2014.

Sistership was thrilled to be one of the teams participating. We did ourselves proud, finishing easily in the top half of the teams. 

Read Katy Bergen’s interview with Cheryl Lamers for Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune for more: Dragon Boat Festival in Sarasota Celebrates Cancer Survivors.

2012 – 15th Anniversary Celebration

2012 was the Year of the Dragon, and it was a time to recognize Sistership’s 15th Anniversary. Sistership celebrated on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at the Calgary Winter Club. Over 120 present and past members, coaches, and trainers attended the event.  It was a time to reminisce, reconnect, and celebrate 15 years of success and friendship.

2010 – Calgary Roughnecks’ Game

On March 26, 2010, members of Sistership took part in the half-time activities at the Calgary Roughnecks’ lacrosse game, and we took our dragon boat along! During that weekend, money was raised for breast cancer awareness across the league.

The evening was an incredible experience for us all. When the players went onto the turf, we formed the “fan tunnel” with the cheerleaders. Then, at half-time, we paraded around the floor with our boat. At the same time, our “drummer,” Annie Pattison, sang a beautiful rendition of “Heroes.” 

Annie Pattison performing “Heroes” with Sistership at the Calgary Roughnecks game.

Watch the video on Sistership Calgary’s Youtube channel or follow the video link

The Maquette was on display for the event. We have a wonderful memory of the night we took our boat out for a walk and partnered with the community to raise awareness of survivorship, dragon boating, and Sistership!

2009 – Our First Picnic & Paddle

 For our September “Picnic and Paddle” celebration, Sistership invited family, friends, and sponsors to join us for an afternoon on the water. Crews consisted of Sistership members and guests, and they experienced what it is like to paddle a dragon boat. Some realized that it is not as easy as it looks! 

Later in the afternoon, our two crews paddled into the bay and took part in a traditional flower ceremony. 

Noel Johnson, songwriter, singer, and son of one of our members, performed a song that he had written for his mother. 

Another Sistership member, Gaydon Willis, wrote and delivered a moving and inspirational speech. 

Twenty-six doves, symbolizing members who have passed away, were released into the air and circled the crowd before flying off.