The best thing to do is watch the video first then read the blog, go ahead I’ll wait.

Wasn’t that neat?! The actual event is a fund raising event for a large child support association called “Nanaimo Child Development Centre” or “NCDC” in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. The purpose is to gather funding for the NCDC and their great programs. Businesses and associations register a team who enter the various segments of the race. The grand prize is a trophy and the knowledge that you have helped kids. Here’s another cool part though, the “boats” have to be assembled at the park, the build must be done in 4 hours AND all the parts must be recycled goods and the “boat” must have nothing but human power. No engines, no electricity. So you will notice lots of shovels and brooms made into paddles. Notice the boat in the video that has the paddlewheel? That’s me with the red hat and my son and my business partner, Karey Hope. The same Karey Hope who is the Dyslexic founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online. In fact the entire project was done by members who are either Dyslexic or really, really right-brained like my son and me.

I have mentioned the Vancouver Island Dyslexia Association (VIDA) in previous blogs but here is a brief recap. This association is located in Nanaimo and I am a board member. Most of the board members and the founder are Dyslexic. The association has an informational website and holds general meetings once a month, as well, they are building on their parents support group. About 6 ago months we became aware of the Silly Boat race and decided it would be a good opportunity for VIDA to get some exposure to both the media and the general public. Our information booth in the local park and the boat itself certainly did attract lots of attention.

Leonardo Davinci is DyslexicOkay now you have a quick explanation of what the video is about. Our entire boat project was devised, planned, built, disassembled and rebuilt at the beach by Dyslexics. And I will tell you why I think this is so important. Normally when an association or business or corporation, or whatever, decides to embark on a big project there will be lots of discussion and planning and more discussion and more decisions and generally lots of inertia to overcome. One to the strengths we mention when we talk about Dyslexic individuals is their ability to see the “Big Picture” or how to problem solve or how they think outside the box. In the instance of this project the solution, which was actually the entire design and build of the boat, was already figured out by the 2 designers of the boat before we could even start to make the committee that was supposed to be in charge of the project. The two “J’s” who are both proudly Dyslexic, an aeronautical engineer and scientist had the boat built in their minds and brought a scale model of the boat to a meeting months before we had even registered for the “race”. The inspiration for the boat came from another famous Dyslexic, Leonardo da Vinci, that’s why the boat was named the “Leonadro da VIDA”.

This was the first time we had ever entered this event and even against other entries who had been there on previous races we almost won, not only our individual race but the whole event. If you watch the video closely you will see we were actually pushing another boat in to the shore when it turned in front of us and we locked “hulls”. In fact they weren’t even paddling for the last part of the race.

We were invited to come again next year and the plans are in the works for that. We already have plans for a “Leonardo da VIDA, Mark 2”. The new boat will be more streamlined, have a bigger paddlewheel, a four person drive system and faster. We need to find some recycled paint so we can make it more colorful. Yes it was lots of fun for everybody involved and for the public who attended and we certainly hope we helped NDCD with our efforts.

Later in the year we will produce a longer video that will have a full story about the build and the brilliant Dyslexic people involved.

Happy Trails!
Howie deGraaf
Editor for Dyslexia Victoria Online
or email me at: degraaf@dyslexiavictoria.ca


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