Gentle Giants: A Rowing Club with a Twist
Rowing as a metaphor for life is the motto of a unique and inspiring rowing club. Space Saver Rowing Systems had the opportunity to get to know them when they purchased our Oar Brackets earlier this year.
They’re called the Gentle Giants, and if you’re a rower or rowing club manager, they are something to get inspired by. The Gentle Giants have turned their passion for rowing into a way to benefit communities and the environment in which they row. Their motto extends the ideals of teamwork, good sportsmanship and commitment from the water into the greater community.
The Gentle Giants Rowing Club (GGRC) is a not for profit (charity), aiming to take rowing from ‘elitist’ to commonplace, by educating and serving the traditionally rowing-free communities in the Mystic and Malden River regions in Massachussets, USA. Through partnerships with local school systems, GGRC provides equipment and coaching support at Somerville, Everett and Malden High Schools. It also encourages through its youth programming, regular participation in community service such as local clean up programs.
Meli Mathis, head coach at the Somerville High School for GGRC, says: The club [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][GGRC] provides boats, oars, coaching launches, and gas while the athletic directors at the high schools only have to pay the coaching salaries. GGRC also runs youth rowing during the summer and fall for the kids who want to row all year. The summer months are also when we introduce the community to rowing through month long LTR programs. Many of the LTR rowers then move on to the masters program.
It’s a wonderful club, although we have some trials with introducing rowing into high schools that are majority [ethnic] minority and with little to no prior exposure to the sport, it is definitely gaining traction. I know how much rowing impacted my high school years, and I can only hope that what we do impacts these kids just as much.
Serving the Environment
The beauty and availability of the natural environment is integral to the sport of rowing. We need pristine waterways to launch our sculls into for a multitude of aesthetic and safety reasons, one being so that with the occasional (or not so occasional) flip, nobody contracts funky eye diseases from dirty water.
When you think about it, GGRC’s environmental initiatives make total sense. They’re dedicated to improving and preserving the environment in and around the rivers in which they row. The Mystic and Malden rivers are virtually traffic-free compared to the nearby Charles river, but this also means they receive a fraction of the public attention related to cleanup and controlling invasive species, which is where GGRC comes in.
The Gentle Giants Rowing Club and its members work closely with the riverfront communities and volunteer their time to activities that benefit the water and shoreline to improve the environment for all.
As a rowing club manager, it may be time to consider having your club do volunteer clean up to benefit the beautiful waterways rowing is so dependent on. I think we can all get a little inspired by the Gentle Giants, don’t you?
What does your club do to help the environment and surrounding communities? We would love to hear from you.
Space Saver’s Oar Brackets make your life oh so much easier. Store 64 scull or sweep oars in a space 1m by 1.5m, where all the oars are independently retrievable and clearly visible. That means at a glance you can see if all of your club oars have been returned to the shed before locking up in the morning. You’ll never have to pick through all of your oars to get just the one you want with our unique bracket system. Find out more