My name is Drew Story and I was a member of the Ventura Olympic Canoe Club during the late 1970s and the 1980s. During that time, the club was coached by Bill Bragg and earned a record number of National Championships. For me, it provided a life-long love of the sport and an immeasurable number of tangible and intangible positive attributes. As I approach what I believe will be my ability to retire, I would like to revive this club and pay it forward, passing along the same positive life lessons I got from the sport of sprint canoe and kayak to others.
It’s not going to be easy to do this – it certainly wasn’t easy for Bill Bragg. He’s willing to help me, and I’ll take all the help he can offer, as well as that of anyone else who volunteers to help make this happen. The real goal isn’t just to bring it back to life, but to make it a self-sustaining, ongoing entity that produces paddlers of the highest caliber. To do that, we’re going to need more than a website, non-profit status, a board of directors, equipment, and of course, paddlers. What we’re really going to need is a permanent home for the club to gather at where it can safely store it’s equipment and train. We’re going to need a boat house.
Marina Park at the Ventura Harbor may still have a provision that states the land is intended to be used for the community. If we can get a container – a used shipping container – allowed to be stored there, we’d have just such a “boat house.” The cost currently estimated at $2,500 for a 45′ container. One of this size could be stored on the back parking spaces near the water, next to grass and a short walk to the dock that already exists there. Racks could be constructed in the container that would hold enough boats, paddles, knee pads and seats to outfit VOCC.
My goal is to re-establish the non-profit status of VOCC, start gathering equipment, establish a board of directors, and get a permanent location for the club at the Ventura Harbor. If you’d like to help, please contact me. If you just want to watch and see what happens, follow this website for updates. I plan to retire in 4 years and I hope to have everything in place so that I can transition to being the full-time coach for VOCC when I do. I’ll work for free and do what I can to make this goal a reality. I was taught about goal setting by the best – Coach Bragg. When the club has a regular income that can support a coach and/or coaching staff, with a successful group of athletes training here, my job will be done.
Want to help?