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USRowing Launches Get Moving with America Rows Program with RowLA

by Allison Frederick, USRowing Director of Communications, 609.751.0710, Allison@usrowing.org | Feb 20, 2014
More than 360 sixth graders at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, Calif., lined up to try out rowing machines last week as part of USRowing’s Get Moving with America Rows program, launched with the help of RowLA, a rowing organization serving under-privileged girls in the Los Angeles area.
P&G Team USA Youth Sports Fund grant to reach 7,000 students

PRINCETON, N.J. — More than 360 sixth graders at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, Calif., lined up to try out rowing machines last week as part of USRowing’s Get Moving with America Rows program, launched with the help of RowLA, a rowing organization serving under-privileged girls in the Los Angeles area.

The classroom-based indoor rowing program, made possible through a $20,000 grant from the P&G Team USA Youth Sports Fund, aims to introduce 7,000 middle school students to the sport of rowing for the first time. The fund benefits United States Olympic Committee youth sport organizations across the country in supporting their programs. Chicago Training Center is scheduled to launch its Get Moving with America Rows curriculum on March 15.

“While rowing is a sport that anyone can participate in, youth often aren’t aware of the opportunity to row if their local club doesn’t offer lessons until high school age,” said USRowing CEO Glenn Merry. “We are very excited to launch Get Moving with America Rows. USRowing must take the lead in changing how our sport is perceived and delivered and this is a unique opportunity to introduce rowing to a new generation of future athletes.”

According to a 2012 research study, USRowing found that a major obstacle to participation in rowing by urban youth in the United States is the lack of exposure and knowledge about the sport. Rowing is one of very few sports in America that is not introduced to youth under 14 years old.

“Sometimes we have to take the rivers and the lakes to the kids,” said USRowing Inclusion Manager Richard Butler. “Get Moving with America Rows is designed to introduce middle school kids to the sport of rowing. They learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and proper rowing terminology in a P.E. class setting.”

Led by RowLA director and founder Liz Greenberger, Lincoln Middle School students met each day during the week to learn the basics of competitive rowing, with tested mini-competitions at the end. The program also included presentations from U.S. team athletes and NCAA student athletes about healthy lifestyles.

Greenberger said she has seen the remarkable impact that rowing has had on athletes and their families. She hopes to give students at Lincoln the opportunity to transition to rowing on the water with RowLA.

“We know that good fitness habits need to be introduced early for them to become life-long patterns,” she said. “The Erg Ed program gives us an opportunity to give middle schoolers of both sexes another way to stay fit.”

Erg Ed, a program of Row to the Future, the youth development initiative of the George Pocock Rowing Foundation in Seattle, Wash., is the most successful indoor rowing education programs in the U.S. Its unique and sustainable approach introduces students to the multiple benefits of rowing and reaches more than 10,000 students each year through its partnership with Seattle Public Schools.

Brian Underwood, a physical education teacher at Lincoln Middle School said that the program was well organized and executed.

“The curriculum fit perfectly into our P.E. standards,” said Underwood. “It was a great ‘hands-on’ program with no down time for the students. I definitely saw the students pushing themselves harder than they have all year long and there were students emerging as the "superstars" who normally do not enjoy that position in the group. During the day, the students would come up to me and excitedly ask, ‘Are we going to row today in class?’”

“It was amazing how much they had learned in four days,” said former U.S. athlete Stesha Carle, who, along with teammate Helen Tompkins, attended the last day of the program. “We led the warm up and to finish off their week of erging, they all completed a 500-meter piece. Some of the best parts were when kids would finish and instantly want to try again, thinking they could go faster. Then they would take five seconds off their previous time.

“By the time we got to the last two classes, all the kids knew the best times that were pulled by the first ones. Rowing has been such a big part of my life and it was great to see this many kids try it for the first time.”

Link to local ABC news piece: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=9422672.

ABOUT USROWING
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 60,000 individual members and 1,200 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing’s official suppliers include Concept 2, Croker Oars, JanSport, Nielsen Kellerman, Vespoli and WinTech. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners: ANXeBusiness Corp, Boathouse Sports, Citi Women, Connect-A-Dock, EMCVenues, JP Crickets, Ludus Tours and Rudy Project. The USRowing National Team program relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. New opportunities exist to support the teams through the next quadrennial, culminating with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing, and the USRowing Para-rowing programs also benefit from corporate support.

Additional information may be found at www.usrowing.org | Twitter: @usrowing | YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/usrowingorg | Facebook: www.facebook.com/usrowing | Tumblr: http://usrowing.tumblr.com/.

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