In rowing, the boat moves fastest when everyone pulls together: The blades enter into the water in unison propelling the boat towards the finish line. The boat responds best when athletes all “pull their weight” both figuratively and literally.
Since 2020, Concept2 has supported over 25 new and growing clubs that are pulling together to make a difference in their local communities. These teams, clubs and programs are encouraging new and diverse athletes by increasing opportunities in rowing. “Pulling Together” funding provides equipment to improve accessibility.
The ways rowing programs address inequality are as diverse as the boathouses they come from. Some programs, such as Wattupa Rowing Center in Fall River, Massachusetts, are newer programs well-situated to invite local low-income and urban students into the boat. Others, like Chicago Training Center, are long-established clubs expanding their offerings. Scholastic teams are also on the rise: programs at St. Benedict’s, St. Mary’s and St. Augustine’s University are all newcomers to the sport.
St. Augustine’s University has an exciting approach: their virtual team introduces students to training and competition before they even get their hands on oars. "The rowing community has been a tremendous resource as we organize the first-ever women’s HBCU team—from ACRA league coaches welcoming us and offering advice, to equipment and software development assistance from Concept2,” explains the team’s founder, Dr. Mark Janas. “We’ve been able to recruit throughout the pandemic, giving students ways to be part of this exciting movement.”
In addition to working with schools and local boathouses, Concept2 coordinates with national organizations such as USRowing and the Pocock Foundations’ ErgEd, which introduces rowing to middle school students, and STEM to Stern, the largest rowing program in the country focused on diversity, inclusion and competition. In partnership with the Pocock Foundation and HUDSON, Concept2 sponsors the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund.
Concept2 is excited to announce the Pulling Together program is being expanded to include the sport of cross-country skiing. If your rowing or skiing program sounds like a fit for Pulling Together funding, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. Requests are reviewed monthly. Concept2 wants to be part of your team!