The first-ever 'Glow Row' event held at Nickle Lake Regional Park earlier this month saw an excellent turnout for the nighttime adventure.
Club vice president Sandra Popescu said their new board of three, including herself, president Shauna Bauman and, Treasurer / Secretary Bree Patterson had discussed holding one after seeing other clubs post about it.
"We threw it out there, and then about five days before, we're like, 'well, let's see if we can do it this day', put it out, and we actually didn't expect the response that we had," she shared. "It was amazing and we definitely want to be able to do it more."
More than 50 people attended, from teenagers to the elderly, some with their own canoes and kayaks, and all but two of the club's units being rented for the event. In fact, one person attended the club for the first time during the glow row.
She said, "We were kind of 'flying by the seat of our pants' there, because we really didn't expect that many people, and we didn't have a lot of engagement or responses directly. So we weren't really even expecting many people to show up, so it was quite surprising in a good way, and thankfully people were patient with us and it was definitely a learning experience for us."
Popescu said they have a better idea of how to proceed in the future to enhance productivity and make it an even better experience for everyone.
Each participant had a little blinking light.
"For every one that went out, we needed to ensure that one came back on that not only helped us keep track of them when they were out in the water but also to ensure that every person came back accounted for."
Another improvement they learned they'll need for next time is they needed more light on the beach.
"There's that swim platform that's out on the lake, if we would have had some lights on there as well, it's kind of like a docking station or a beacon for people to be able to come back to," she explained. "We did have leaders that were kind of going to be doing a path. Not everyone kind of stayed on that. Some people just stayed more in the area once they got out there. I did hear from some people that bugs were a bit of an issue at night with the lights and things like that."
"We need to ensure that we have the help staff and availability for us to pull this off again because it does take quite a bit of volunteer time and work from people to ensure that we have all of our ducks in a row," Popescu noted. "We are definitely looking for more board members, more help. There are only three of us at this time, all three of us work full-time. We have several kids as well. So it's been busy and we've been trying our best, but more hands on deck would be great. More people to help out and take on some tasks, and come with great ideas, and be able to proceed with the ideas."
The event was not costly for participants.
"We just asked for a minimum $5 donation just to cover some costs," she said. "We are a very small club, so any extra fundraisers, activities, and getting our name out there into the community more is all the better for us."
Over the weekend, in fact, the club helped out in the beer gardens for the slo-pitch tournament held at Nickle Lake.
She said they are hoping to grow their board, and their club, and to ensure people know they exist.
"A lot of people don't know it's out there, or they assume it's part of Nickle Lake, which it isn't. Nickle Lake Regional Park gives us that space, and we're very thankful of that. But we are a separate entity from them. If there's enough interest and we can show that we have enough help, we are hoping to have one final [Glow Row] on September long weekend."
Popescu added they hope to hold one earlier in the season next year as well before the bugs and weeds grow too plentiful.
Shauna Bauman said someone had suggested they have a motorized boat in the water in case anyone runs into trouble.
"We would look for someone to volunteer their boat for this as we don’t have one."
"There was some excellent creativity with decorating boats and paddle boards. We even had people in costumes. We will have to maybe do some judging next time," Bauman noted.
"Nickle Lake Security were amazing and so helpful, they helped us get all our equipment back into the boat house at the end of the night. Overall the Nickle Lake management and board have been fantastic to deal with. They are handing out pamphlets to new campers coming in. They help us get the pier in and out each season. We could not do it without their assistance and support," she added.
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