The George Pocock Rowing Foundation and USRowing recently announced the Ann Arbor Public Schools as a recipient of the 2017-2018 Erg Ed Grant Award. This grant provides Ann Arbor Public Schools with erg equipment, access to the Erg Ed Curriculum, and comprehensive teacher training throughout the year.
Kim Jackson, District PE/Health Department Chair 6-12 for Ann Arbor Public Schools, believes “Erg Ed is important because it exposes many students to aspects of a sport (rowing) they may never have known existed before participating in the program.” It also allows Ann Arbor Public Schools to “further diversify our Physical Education curriculum to keep the interest of our students and keep them motivated to move.”
Kit Bennett, director of Washtenaw Rowing Center and coach of Skyline Crew, said rowing has been part of the Ann Arbor high school athletics culture for some time.
“Providing our student-athletes with an option, that doesn’t require starting the sport at the age of 5, really is phenomenal,” Bennett said.
Recognizing the benefits of rowing and the opportunities it provides students, Ann Arbor Public Schools supports scholastic rowing teams at Skyline High School, Huron High School, and Pioneer High School. Implementing the Erg Ed program district wide for middle and high school students builds on the district’s existing structure to support student’s entry and participation in the sport.
Washtenaw Rowing Center is partnering with Ann Arbor Public Schools to help support the implementation of Erg Ed, in addition to providing opportunities for students interested in taking their Erg Ed skills to the water.
“Rowing is traditionally seen as a ‘country club’ sport, our hope with Erg Ed is that we will break down this perception and make it more accessible to the whole city,” he said. “Our focus at the Washtenaw Rowing Center is to increase diversity in the sport. We also don’t turn people away because of financial reasons. We do a lot of fund-raisers to help make rowing accessible for everyone interested.”
This grant opportunity is only possible because of the enthusiastic and generous support of USRowing. Through their support, Ann Arbor is the fifth city in the nation to receive an Erg Ed Grant.
“We are excited to continue our Erg Ed partnership with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, expanding the program to Ann Arbor this fall,” says Patrick McNerney, USRowing CEO. “Erg Ed promotes an active lifestyle and introduces the sport and its values to a wide range of students. The program has had a positive impact on kids of all ages and backgrounds.”
Founded in 2012, the Washtenaw Rowing Center provides year-round middle school programs, elite programs for high school/College (under 23s) in the summer and even private lessons.
The Middle School Learn to Row classes serve as an introduction that allows students to try out rowing and begin learning the basics of the sport. Rowers who complete a Learn to Row class then have the opportunity to develop their skills and progress in the sport as part of our Middle School Development Team.
“That first session in 2012 we had eight students,” Bennett said. “We now average about 40 to 50 per session. We want to expose the sport and its benefits of the sport to the entire community and spark interest at all three high schools.”
For more information on the Washtenaw Rowing Center, log onto http://www.washtenawrowingcenter.com