July 21, 2008
DERBY, Conn. - The Yale Community Rowing program has come along way since its inception in the summer of 1999. More than 1,000 youngsters from the Valley and New Haven areas have been introduced to the sport, and last Friday at the Gilder Boathouse, members of the community gathered to celebrate the program's 10th anniversary.
"In looking back to our first year, it is hard to imagine that we started with 12 rowers and one barge," said Jamie Snider, the Director of Yale Community Rowing. "Today, nearly 80 youth may be on the water at once in four eight-oared shells and three training barges."
Several dignitaries were on hand to take part in the celebration, including Tony Staffieri, the Mayor of Derby, and Mark Lauretti, the Mayor of Shelton. A parade that culminated on the dock of the Gilder Boathouse featured all of the organizations that have benefited from the program.
The Yale Community Rowing program has countless benefits for individual participants, providing opportunities for personal growth that extend far beyond the banks of the river. All lessons require participants to develop mental and physical discipline as they listen to coaches explain the rowing technique before practicing it themselves. Participants are shown videotape of themselves rowing so that they can continue to improve. This process of hard work and improvement, as demonstrated by actual videotape, allows the children to experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with gradual progress toward a goal.
The week-long Learn To Row session has been one of the most popular programs. Nearly 200 boys and girls ages 10 to 17 take to the water in training barges. Under the guidance of the coaching staff, participants acquire the knowledge and basic skills needed to row.
Many of the graduates of the Learn To Row session move on to the Middle School program where new skills are taught through drills and daily on the water practices. The youngsters go from a barge to a racing shell.
A majority of the participants in the High School program have been with Yale Community Rowing for several years. Each practice includes a controlled scrimmage that gives the members of each boat an opportunity to race and gauge their improvement on a daily basis. The session culminates with a Friday morning regatta. Many of the participants in the high school program have gone on to row in college.
Other organizations that have benefited from the Yale Community Rowing program include NYSP at Yale, Girl Scouts, the Derby Recreation Center, JUNTA of New Haven and the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley.
The Yale Community Rowing Program began with the establishment of an endowed fund by the Gilder family and has continued to grow over the years. For more information regarding the program, email Jamie Snider at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (203) 432-0311.