Row New York Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:11:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Opening Doors Through Rowing: Our Youth Justice Program Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:59:59 +0000 by Denise Aquino, Director of Community Rowing

When I first heard the term “juvenile justice” I thought it was some sort of justice league. When I walked into Horizon Juvenile Center in 2013 (as a rowing coach, mind you), I was a few weeks into my new job and had minimal work experience with court-involved youth. I had no idea what to expect. On that cold winter day, my coworkers and I stood outside to unload our rowing machines from our van through the cargo bay. As with we waited with snow starting to collect on our heads, seconds felt like an eternity and my eyes fixated on the barb wire 20 feet above.

It was piercing to see it in person, and even more so from inside of the gate. With our four rowing machines, it somehow felt rational to think that maybe the security guard forgot to unlock the door for us. Time slowed down waiting for a door that someone else was supposed to open. Why did I take for granted what it was like to open my own door, I thought to myself. The closer I got to the courtyard where we were supposed to teach the kids, the farther I felt from reality; the more I had to remind myself of what exactly we were doing here.

That winter day in Horizon Juvenile Center I learned that teaching rowing to youth in detention centers was not so different from teaching youth anywhere else. The catch and the drive were the same all around. I learned that everyone likes to play games, and even behind bars erging (indoor rowing) can be fun. I learned that getting someone to smile is really hard to do in a detention center. I also learned the challenges that come with describing rowing to someone who is afraid of even talking about being near water. In the same way I never took for granted how to open a door for myself, I never thought to take for granted the joy, the confidence, and the positivity that rowing can bring.

Four years later, as we prepare to start the 2017 school year I reflect about that time at Horizon and how our youth justice programs can grow. Firstly, we changed the program name from “Juvenile Justice” to “Youth Justice” because I cannot think of one positive word that follows the word, juvenile. Second, we started to do more on-the-water programs, especially for youth who were awaiting foster care placement.


This summer, we worked with youth from the ACS Children’s Center at our Brooklyn site, where they learned to row on the water.


We had a handful of girls from the Children’s Center at our Brooklyn location.


Denise Aquino, Director of Community Rowing, teaches the rowing stroke.


After the practice, they asked Alexandra, our community rowing coach, how they could keep rowing, which was music to her ears!

This summer, we had a 1-week program where a group of youth from the ACS Children’s Center came to our Brooklyn site and learned how to row on the water. Furthermore, we had a 6-week program with the Fortune Society, where young adults who are court-involved learn the basics of rowing in Brooklyn. And finally in Queens, we had 1-day programs for youth who were in non-secure placement (ACS) came to our site and learn how to row.

A few weeks ago, we had a handful of girls from the Children’s Center at our Brooklyn location. After the practice, they asked Alexandra, our community rowing coach, how they could keep rowing, which was music to her ears! She told them about the upcoming tryouts and urged them to show up.

With the benefits of physical activity as an alternative to the use of solitary confinement within youth detention centers as well as the overrepresentation of certain demographic populations in both foster care and detention centers, I look forward to the growth of Row New York’s Youth Justice program. We are making rowing more accessible, using rowing to help New Yorkers open their own doors, and ensuring our mission to “transform the lives of New Yorkers regardless of background or ability” continues to grow.

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Summer at Row New York Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:43:59 +0000 by Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

The summertime is perfect for getting outside and learn something new. Once school is out, Row New York increases its programming to help our participants make the most out of the summer months. Our Middle School Summer Program consists of academics, rowing and field trips to keep our middle schoolers engaged. Our High School Summer Program also consists of rowing and academics (we offer college visits, workshops such as our Brilliance and Bravery Forum, SAT prep and the Summer Writing Corps.)


Cleaning up Jones Beach

Every summer, our Middle School teams commit one day to community service. This year, our students cleaned up Jones Beach. As rowers, we know that clean waterways are essential to our health and well-being. On our field trip we took time to reflect on why we need to keep our beaches clean. Our middle schoolers recognized the effects that litter has on wildlife and on humans and were excited to make a difference.

We cleaned up the area around the Jones Beach Theatre, including the entrance, parking lot, and beach. We cleaned diligently, especially after learning that cigarette butts take up to ten years to decompose!

After snapping a quick group picture with our trash bags as trophies, the teams headed to the beach for a post-cleanup break in the waves.



Queens Summer Camps

During the summer months we also host Learn-to-Row camps in Queens, to introduce the sport of rowing to various non-profits from around the city. The camps are an opportunity for youth and adults alike to try something new and challenging. We start with icebreakers, games and a warm-up, and then participants learn to row on land with rowing machines. Once everyone has a good idea of the rowing stroke we move into our barges.

Safety and fun are our biggest priorities for these camps, along with exposing a variety of residents to rowing. Participants are encouraged to push themselves – but coaches make sure that the athletes feel comfortable and safe. Along with wearing life jackets, participants are kept safe by using stable barges that allow coaches to be close to the rowers.

The organizations we served this summer include: Liberty Leads, Powerplay NYC, Hudson Guild, ACS Non-secure Detention Youth, Wheeling ForwardInitiative for Women with Disabilities 



Are you a NYC-based non-profit organization interested in bringing your students to a learn-to-row summer camp? Contact Denise Aquino, Director of Community Rowing at to learn more. 

School may be out during the summer, but our student-athletes don’t stop learning!

The Royal Canadian Henley 2017 Thu, 10 Aug 2017 15:29:31 +0000 by Claudia Loeber, RNY Photographer and Adult Program Coordinator and Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

This past weekend, our Master’s team raced at the Royal Canadian Henley. This is one of the biggest and most prestigious regattas in North America, hosting more than 3500 athletes and spectators. 2017 marks the 135th year that the Canadian Henley has taken place and we are proud to have participated in this historical event!

Our competitors enjoyed perfect rowing weather. It was sunny but not too hot nor windy. They were even lucky enough to miss a passing storm (as seen in the photograph above).

The Row New York Masters raced 11 entries. Every athlete raced twice and some even raced three times. Many Masters raced in sculling boats for the first time. Two of our boats took third place, the Men’s C 4+ and Men’s B-F 8+. Coach Claudia raced in the Mixed Masters 8+ event, which had finished 4th after a great sprint. Each boat rowed well and brought the heat to this very competitive race, so we look forward to their head races this fall.

Our Masters did an amazing job representing us on the international stage and we hope they had an incredible and memorable time!

Canley17-52Canley17-38 Canley17-66 Canley17-69 Canley17-99 Canley17-59

Huge thanks to:
Lukas Grattan, RNY alum, who joined the masters for the summer who was support staff for the race and made everyone’s life easier.

Matt Logue, trailer driver and boat man supreme who made sure all of our equipment was taken care of, and everything ran smoothly at the course.

Raphi Tayvah, the masters assistant coach who we could not function without since she makes sure to remember all the things I do not, as well as made sure we rocked our new uniforms in our debut race.

Kyra McClary, RNY part time staff in Queens and volunteer coxswain for the weekend who enabled us to race more.

Photos by Claudia Loeber

For more photos, check out our Facebook album.

Overpeck Summer Sprints – Race Results Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:20:17 +0000 By Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Overpeck Summer Sprints Regatta marks the end of our 2017 summer racing season. Our athletes raced last weekend at the 2000 meter course on the Overpeck Creek in the county of Bergen, New Jersey.  The summertime is the first time that new varsity members race against more experienced competitors in boats with older varsity members on their team. Summer races help the varsity to develop unity by helping them build the skills they need to move a boat together, despite their different levels of experience.

Off season racing also gives rowers an opportunity to see how fast the competition is.  This experience helps remind the crews why they must train as hard as they can from now until the end of next spring’s racing season.

Full Results:
Boy’s U19 4+ 6th of 6
Boy’s U17 2x 4th of 10
Girl’s’ 4x 2nd of 4
Boy’s U17 8+ 3rd of 3
Girl’s 8+ 2nd of 2

Great job, Row New Yorkers, for a successful summer. Next stop: head race season!

A post shared by Daring Adventure! 👍😉 (@kevin_ktale) on

Photos courtesy of and @Kevin_ktale via Instagram

Dahmein McFadden: Power of 3:00 Ambassador Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:14:49 +0000 We are thrilled to announce that Dahmein McFadden, our Chief Program Officer, was selected to join a team of passionate and action-oriented ambassadors for the New York State Network for Youth Success.

As a Power of 3:00 Ambassador, Dahmein will work to raise awareness about the effects of afterschool programs on students and families. Within his advocacy role, he will represent youth by speaking to New York state elected officials and their constituents. Only eight individuals were chosen for the program within New York, and their advocacy efforts will take place both on state and national levels.

Dahmein McFadden

Dahmein McFadden, our Chief Program Officer, was selected to join a team of passionate and action-oriented ambassadors for the New York State Network for Youth Success.

Dahmein’s cohort hail from a variety of youth-serving nonprofits which represent a menu of afterschool programs including those that teach about careers, college, healthy eating, and fitness. “The other seven members of this group are just as good as I am and I can pick their brains. They can tell me how they’re doing things and what works,” Dahmein says in working with a group full of diverse expertise.

“I may not be great at a lot of things, but I think I’m great at community development.”

Dahmein’s decision to apply for this opportunity was driven by his passion for working with young people and his many years working in community development.

He plans on using the experience to gain knowledge, information, and the tools to educate young leaders who will in turn educate the next generation of youth. As an ambassador, he will speak to elected officials about providing funding for afterschool programs and will also focus on strategic planning to help programs expand. On his to-do list – help grow Row New York’s community while showing others the amazing work that is done at non-profits like us.

“We aren’t a babysitting service that just gives kids milk and cookies and has them watch Sesame Street. We teach them life skills. We teach them about teamwork, how to live and how to interact with people who don’t look like them so they can grow into positive and amazing people.” – Dahmein on the afterschool programs

This is an exciting time for both Dahmein and Row New York and we look forward to seeing all of the goodness that will result from his ambassador role. Thank you Dahmein for your amazing efforts for New York’s youth and beyond!

Philly Youth – Race Results Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:00:11 +0000 By Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Last weekend, our crews went to the Philadelphia Youth Regatta. It’s the 6th year we have competed at this regatta, and have watched the competition grow. This year, crews from as far as Chicago, as well as local Philadelphia teams, brought the heat to race day.


Photos by Karo Beygzadeh

The regatta was the perfect opportunity to show non-racing Row New York athletes everything they’ve been training for. Both our Queens Middle School and Brooklyn High School athletes traveled to watch our Manhattan High School and Middle School athletes on race day.

Many of our athletes experienced their first regatta ever and also visited the historic UPenn boathouse to learn about rowing at the collegiate level. This experience was memorable, to say the least. It showed Row New Yorkers it’s worthwhile to push themselves to their limit both athletically and academically.


For many of our middle school athletes, Philly Youth was their first real racing opportunity. For our new high school varsity athletes, the regatta was their first time racing against more experienced rowers. Together we learned more about the rowing world and how competitive we need to be in the coming seasons (and also how to race in less-than-ideal conditions – 90+ degrees and sunny).Our crews competed in eight events – here are the full results:

Our crews competed in eight events – here are the full results:

Boys JV 2x – 4th of 6
Boys V4x – 6th of 6
Boys V8+ – 4th of 5
Girls JV 2x – 5th of 5
Girls V2x – 5th of 5
Girls JV4+ – 4th of 4
Girls V8+ – 4th of 6
Mixed MS8+ – 4th of 4

Brilliance and Bravery Forum Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:58:57 +0000 By Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Summer is here! While many of us are soaking up the sunshine, our graduating seniors are busy finalizing financial aid packages, living arrangements, registration, and transportation for their next chapter: college.

At Row New York, we strive to get all our youth to and THROUGH college. The months leading up to starting school can be tough. There are many decisions to be made and things to get in order: which dorm to live in, which classes to take, and which clubs to join. Many of our students are also first generation college students, which adds to the questions surrounding financial aid, scholarships, and jobs.

Each year we host the Brilliance and Bravery forum to give our recent graduates a chance to connect with Row New York alumni and ask the hard questions that other adults in their life may not be able to answer.

two better

This year’s Brilliance and Bravery Forum

This year’s forum brought together staff, alumni, volunteers and our incoming college freshmen for some frank conversations.

Knowing that college can be hard to navigate, a portion of our forum was dedicated to teaching students about how and where to ask for help. Students answered trivia questions about campus locations which offer resources (learning fun facts like the Bursar’s Office helps with finances).

Alumni and coaches had their moments of brilliance during a panel where students asked them for their best advice, including sharing their personal experiences with obstacles they faced.

Alumna better

Here’s our sage alumni advice to incoming freshmen:

On registration:

“Double check what your advisors tell you and constantly make sure you’re on track.”


On being a student of color at a predominantly white school:

“Just don’t let it bother you, discourage you or make you quit. Everyone has an opinion and you just have to stay strong and keep going.”


On college parties:

“Go with friends you trust, leave with them at the end of the night. If you don’t know your limits, start really, really slow. Don’t drink and drive.”


On consent:

“It’s important! It should be freely given, can be “revoked” at any time, and it works both ways. No one should shame or guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do.”


On STIs:

“Go get tested together! Then go grab Chipotle.”


On GPAs:

“Freshman year is critical, you don’t want to get caught up in every other activity. You are in college for an education and ultimately, for a job. Keep your GPA high so you won’t have to play catch-up later on.”


Congratulations, Row New York graduates, for all your accomplishments! We know you will continue to make good choices for your education, careers and beyond.  We look forward to hearing about all your upcoming success. Please reach out to anyone on our staff if you need us.

Thank you, Juan Graciano, Nicole Doyle, Amanda Ramdeholl, Jessica Rispoli and Select Equity Group, for making this year’s Brilliance and Bravery Forum a success!

Adventures at Governor’s Island Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:27:11 +0000 By Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Intern

Our year-round youth programs consist of rowing practices, swimming lessons, and a day for academics. In order to enrich and engage our students during a time that may otherwise lead to “summer slide”  or boredom, our programming is extended during the summer months.

Our middle school summer programming is evenly divided between academics and athletics. Student-athletes spend the morning and afternoon with Row New York. Each day of the week we investigate a different theme for academics, including art, STEM, college, careers, and civics. Kids spend lunch with us and then spend about 2.5 hours on the water working on their technique, teamwork, and fitness. A lot of our middle schoolers look forward to Wednesdays, however, when we go on field trips around the City.  This week we explored Governor’s Island


Photos by Kassandra Nevarez

We started the day bright and early when the Queens and Manhattan teams caught a ferry to the Island. Our middle schoolers were pumped to see New York City from a completely new perspective while on the ferry. When I asked a group of friends what they would be doing if they didn’t come today, one held up their phone, the other said “on my couch, on my phone” – their friends laughed and agreed.


Once we were on the island, everyone soaked in the great views of the city and realized why coaches insisted sunscreen to be slathered on thick. The day was hot and sunny, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm in the air. The first activity of the day was a group bike ride around the island. We raced, strolled and stopped to explore different sites, grab water, and of course, take selfies.


After the athletes saw what the island had to offer, we stopped for lunch (made with love by Asya Rainey, Academic & College Success Coordinator) and hit the playground.


We also walked over to trails surrounded by flowers for some impromptu nature photos. See more photos on our Facebook


This weekend our athletes head to the Philadelphia Youth Regatta, where many will race for the first time. Next week our middle school program will be visiting the Math Museum. Cheers to summer in the City!

City of Water Day Brings Rowing to Brooklyn Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:41:53 +0000 by Ruby Lyon, Marketing and Communications Manager

It’s been an active summer for Row New York. In addition to the flurry of activities we do with our youth programs (insert college tours, rowing/racing, writing workshops, and field trips) we’re also getting to know our communities through rowing.

If you follow our blog you might remember that we celebrated National Learn To Row Day in June and saw hundreds of people join us in Queens and Manhattan. It was incredible to share rowing with so many people of various ages and abilities. But let’s not forget about our newest rowing site in Canarsie, Brooklyn. We gave residents there a taste of the sport this past weekend during City of Water Day (a Waterfront Alliance city-wide event).

Participants traveled far and wide to our Brooklyn site while others happened to spot us while strolling by. We were able to introduce the beautiful stretch of calm water known to our Brooklyn site to all who were interested. There were some perplexed looks when we first pitched those wandering by to come row with us. Those who gave it a try, however, quickly realized how fun and safe the experience was.


Like most Learn to Row sessions we started off with land-based drills to learn the rowing stroke.


We weren’t kidding about having some serious fun during our Learn-to-Row classes.


We celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Row America, one of the most generous supporters of the Row New York Brooklyn site.


Canarsie residents got to experience their neighborhood in a new way – from the water.

We also celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Row America, one of the most generous supporters of the Row New York Brooklyn site, alongside board member, Arshay Cooper, and the Brooklyn youth team.

What’s next for the Canarsie neighborhood? We are currently hosting completely free learn to row camps for girls ages 12-18 over the next few weeks. These camps are a perfect introduction to the Row New York program and set participants up to join our year round team if they’re hooked. Eventually, we hope to bring the fantastic adult programming known at our Manhattan boathouse to our Brooklyn site.

For adults interested in taking a half-day immersive Learn-to-Row 1 class with us in Manhattan, register on Eventbrite: July 22, August 5, or September 9All fees from our Learn-to-Row classes go back into our community programs, which move kids through college and empower people with disabilities.

We look forward to connecting with local residents and schools this fall when we host tryouts for high school students. Keep an eye out on our social accounts for updates on our newest location and it’s rowing offerings. Thank you to each person who came out and gave rowing a try with us on Saturday and to our super awesome volunteers!

Rowing 101 Fri, 14 Jul 2017 17:12:40 +0000 by Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Rowing is an excellent full-body workout. It is the perfect mix of cardio and strength training, it increases your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and it takes place outdoors and on the water. Further, the rowing stroke can easily be adapted to suit an individual’s physical ability, making rowing a widely accessible sport.

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An important part of learning to row is becoming familiar with the terminology that coaches will use to help you perfect your stroke and keep you safe.

Created by Josh Sorosky from Noun Project (3)

For your safety

“Hold Water”: “put the brakes on!”; to do this, immediately square the blades in the water

“Weigh-enough”: (pronounced ”way-nuff”) STOP rowing; variations of this term include “let it run” or “easy all”

“Sit-easy”: “relax, you’re not called on to row”; sit with the legs bent halfway up the slide, the oar handle in your hands, resting in a secure place, and the blade flat on top of the water

Parts of the Stroke

The Catch: describes the body position of the compressed legs, perpendicular shins, forward body position, and straight arms when the blade of the oar is about to “catch” the water

The Finish / The Release: describes the body position of the extended legs, leaned back (10°or 15° is good), and pulled-in arms when the blade of the oar has “finished” the stroke

The Drive: the motion of pulling the oar handle with the legs, then back, then arms while the blade is squared within the water; the motion from the catch to the finish

The Recovery: the motion of pushing the oar handle with the arms, then back, then legs while the blade is out of the water; the motion from the finish to the catch

Arms Away: describes the body position on the recovery when the legs are extended, the torso leaned back and the arms straight, away from the body straight, away from the body

Bodies Over: describes the body position when the legs are extended, the torso leaning forward and the arms straight

Half-Slide: describes the body position when the knees are halfway bent, the torso leaning forward and the arm straight

Sides of the boat

Bow: The front of the boat, is behind you when you row

Stern: The back of the boat, is in front of you when you row

Starboard: the right side of the boat when you are rowing; if you are rowing starboard, your right hand is at the end of the oar with your pinky on the end

Port: the left side of the boat when you are rowing; remember, port and left are 4 letters long; if you are rowing port, your left hand is at the end of the oar with your pinky on the end

Technical Terms

Skying: describes the blade of the oar when it is too high above the water on the recovery

Digging: describes the blade of the oar when it is too deep within the water during the drive

Square: describes the blade of the oar when the oar is perpendicular to the water; e.g., the catch is in the squared position

Feather: describes the blade of the oar when it is parallel to the water; e.g., when using the inside hand to gradually roll-up the oar we go from the feather to the square.

Rolling up: describes the oar-blade’s motion going from the feather to the square; done gradually

Finally, always remember: Never let go of your oar