Coventry Lake Community Rowing prides itself on offering rowing to all persons who would like to try without any discrimination. This mission perked interest in applying for the Manchester Road Race grant in winter of 2020. The grant ask consisted of providing 8 scholarships to a group of youth from Manchester and a small portion to purchase supporting equipment including low-profile life jackets. As CLCR continues to expand programming, it is clear that safety has to be a primary concern, and these low profile life jackets are priceless and allow for individuals who are not strong at swimming or just are uncomfortable near water, to get out and try the sport without concern. It is rare that a boat flips, but it can, so these life-jackets are an additional safety precaution above having a coach nearby and launch boat when applicable.
In spring of 2020, CLCR was awarded the grant. Our outreach began through a member contact to an educator in the Manchester school system. They provided us a connection with a local youth program for under-privileged youth and voila - we had our pool of scholarship applicants.
We designed the program to suite the group and their schedule. Because it was during the pandemic, we kept the groups small and adjusted dates based on weather to keep the experience strictly out doors and spread out. Our participants were able to get transportation (one very limiting factor when offering program outside of the very local community) which was a bonus. Our staff included one head coach, and several Coventry High School rowers who had years of rowing experience under their belts. We sent out our participants either 1:1 or 1:2 ration and they were taught at the shore first, and then were sent out on their first maiden voyage. Our coaches followed either in Kayaks, Paddle boards or a rowing shell. We had a launch boat out for additional safety.
Over the course of 3 weeks, the youth learned out to row not only by themselves in singles, but they had the opportunity to try a four sweep boat. In addition, we had time to just swim and hang out at the lake as well. It was a very fulfilling experience to offer a learn-to-row program to individuals who did not live near water, nor ever likely had the opportunity. Thank you to the board decision-makers of the MRR Grant!
The Corporation does not discriminate in its membership, programs and/or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation or status as a veteran or disabled veteran.