Rowing Strong, Rowing Together is a New England-wide rowing program designed for teen mothers living in poverty, young women who would otherwise have little or no access to this kind of opportunity. The program was launched by Care Center staff and crew coaches at Mount Holyoke College in 1999 and has been in operation since. Each year, staff from The Care Center’s Rowing Strong, Rowing Together program facilitates partnerships between rowing organizations and young parent programs around New England. The goal is to enrich and enhance the education and life experience of young mothers by introducing to the sport of rowing.
Rowing provides an opportunity for a number of important lessons that impact self-esteem, community building and the experience of mastery. It is an especially powerful sport because of its unique combination of individual and team. Each rower is dependent on the actions of the others in the boat, yet each has the space and ability to focus on her own progress and technique. Rowing is a sport where the connection between hard work, discipline and progress is easily understood. The more you row, the stronger you get. The link is very direct both physically and emotionally. It is clear that rowing presents numerous experiential opportunities to learn about physics, spatial relations, science and the environment. These are all areas that young women might be apt to shy away from, particularly these students who have dropped out of school and experienced school failure at an early age.
Today, a number of communities, colleges and rowing programs around New England are committed to bringing rowing to young mothers as part of Rowing Strong, Rowing Together. The Care Center has initiated and supported rowing programs for young mothers on the Connecticut River in Bridgeport and Hartford, Connecticut, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hanover, NH. We have also launched programs in Pittsfield and Boston, MA (with MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital), Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut. Each August participating teams compete in the annual Young Parents Regatta on the Connecticut River at the city-owned boathouse in Holyoke, MA.
Over the last decade, Rowing Strong, Rowing Together partners around New England have witnessed benefits of the program for all participants that include:
- development of trusting relationships
- the chance to achieve, improve and master a new skill
- increased confidence and self reliance
- new pathways to others successes
Rowing Strong, Rowing Together staff is ready to help communities in New England launch teen parent rowing programs of their own. We are prepared to provide program development and technical assistance, coaching support and nominal financial support.
The 2012 Rowing Strong, Rowing Together partners include: