Starting anything new can be daunting. When it comes to being the newest member of a rowing club, someone may feel a little out of place amongst all the weathered veterans.

However, the point of a rowing club is for many different people to get together in the spirit of this one mutual interest – rowing. It’s both a form of physical exercise and also a social hobby. You can improve your cardiovascular fitness, de-stress and hang out with others as passionate about rowing as you.

As a club, you’ll want to make sure every new member feels as included and welcome as possible to prevent them from jumping overboard!

How can you do that? We take a look at three key initiatives of clubs from around the world.

1. The buddy system


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What’s better than meeting someone else who loves rowing as much as you? discovering that someone is also at the same experience level as you!

The Outboard Boating Club of Auckland (OBC) has a New Member Orientation Evening as the second step of the membership sign up process. What’s the first? Merely filling out a form!

This helps newbies to bond together in the face of club initiation. Members can meet like-minded people that are all in the same boat, so to speak. Holding such an evening also facilitates group conversations between both new and more experienced members.

Drinks can help to break the ice between new and old members.2. Hold regular social events

Everyone has busy lives. The best way you can accommodate the various schedules of everyone is to hold regular events.

For example, OBC hold their orientation evening every second Tuesday of the month. This means, during any time of the year, a new member will be able to join and be accepted into the club smoothly.

It’s equally important for social events too, as this is a time to relax outside the confines of experience. The Mercantile Rowing Club in Melbourne offer some memberships that include access to their bar – open the first Thursday every month!

3. Keep them busy

There’s nothing more boring than small talk once all the polite introductory greetings have expired. One of the best way of bonding between team members is to embark on an activity together.

Does your club offer such tasks? Volunteering is a brilliant way to include different members in a fulfilling and rewarding social task. Having all contributed time and effort into a successful event, this can create a sense of achievement that strengthens the bond between members.

The British Rowing organisation explains that larger national events, especially, will be on the lookout for enthusiastic people to lend a helping hand.

Volunteering also provides great exposure on behalf of your club, both raising awareness and helping the community. Club fundraising is an excellent opportunity to integrate new members with the common goal of improving the club. There’s no limit to creativity – for example, Waikato Rowing Club raise cattle as a fundraising source!

We have plenty of ideas for club fundraising if you get stuck. Check out our rowing and dragon boat club fundraising advice here.

Do you do anything different to integrate new members at your club? We would love to know! Share your ideas/suggestions in the comments below.

Space Saver Rowing Systems is proud to have worked with many reputable clubs over the years. If you’d like more information on how to better manage or make fundamental improvements to your rowing club, get in touch with us – the team would be thrilled to help out!

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