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Rowing our way through - and beyond - the pandemic

The fall Neponset Rowing Club high school rowing season is getting started. It's our second season back on the water, having run on-land programs in 2020 due to Covid-19. It's a moment for reflection on where we are now - and where we're going.

The pandemic has been challenging for us, but nothing like the challenges presented to health care workers, first responders and frontline employees, not to mention those who have suffered and cared for family members during this time. In the face of their sacrifices, rowing is really one of those "nice-to-haves", and we are grateful to have had the chance to adapt our programs and provide rowers in the community to pull an oar – or an erg handle – and safely burn calories, see friends and keep chasing that perfect stroke.

The challenges aren't over

We've learned a lot about safety, and our coaches and program director will diligently enforce our safety protocols during this fall season. We are currently accepting registrations for Fall high school rowing and hope to open programs for grades 7-8 and adults soon.

Before the pandemic, the FOMC board had collaborated with members of the community on a new strategic plan to guide our next three years. We refined our mission:

To share the joy and life-changing benefits of rowing with the diverse communities of the Neponset river.

We developed a set of strategies to help us deliver on the mission, knowing that success requires continued collaboration with our many stakeholders and constituents: The Town of Milton, Milton Public Schools, Milton Yacht Club, 88 Wharf, the many businesses who have supported local rowing over the years, and of course, parents, volunteers, students and rowers of all types.

Our vision is optimistic

We will upgrade our equipment. As we often say "boats are wicked expensive" - but we owe it to our rowers and coaches to provide a great rowing experience, and boats matter. Working with everyone involved in managing the future of Milton Landing, we see a future with upgraded docks for launching boats more safely, and maybe even covered boat storage. And we see a role we can and should play in making sure rowing is diverse, access to rowing is equitable and our rowing culture is inclusive.

A very small first step in reaching toward these goals is upgrading our web presence, so here it is - the new Neponset Rowing Club site. (By the way, you can help us get started on those boats by clicking one of the many "donate now" buttons to be found on the site.)

We hope you'll join us

We need other kinds of help, too – volunteers to help us expand our impact. Board members. You name it. Give us five minutes and any of us will do our best to show you why we believe rowing is essential to the future development and enjoyment of the diverse communities surrounding the Neponset. Thanks for your support during the pandemic – we hope you'll stick with us, and stick with rowing for the community.

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