“We wanted to remove those barriers to give everyone an opportunity to get down and get a taste of rowing,” said Kirk Dorn, president of the West Side Rowing Club.
And that is why the Rowing Club applied for a grant through the Ralph Wilson Jr. Foundation, and received $350,000 in grant funds to increase diversity and participation.
The funds allow the club to provide its programming free of charge to those who need it, and to go beyond the Crew Camp programs that run in the summer.
“Being able to try an accommodate for programs in the fall and spring time that go a little bit deeper into the rowing world,” said Dorn.
“It’s really kids’ first opportunity to have a little independence and autonomy. I don’t think they realize it until they actually shove off the dock for the first time that they really are in full control of the boat that they’re in,” said Ian Suchan, Director of Community Outreach and Administration.
Through its summer learn-to-row camp for kids ages ten to16, the Rowing Club introduces kids to the basics of the sport, teaching them about team work.
“The boat really is not going to move in the water unless all rowers in the boat are working together, and trying to be in sync with one another to move it forward,” said Suchan.
The summer Crew Camps runs from July fifth through August 13.