Port Rowing offers free camp for underprivileged

Port Rowing offers free camp for underprivileged
Campers lifting a boat into the water. Port Rowing hosted its first free "learn-to-row camp" for underprivileged kids between Aug. 8 and 12. (Photo courtesy of Port Rowing)

Between Aug. 8 and 12, Port Rowing held its first cost-free camp for underprivileged children.

Port Rowing is a premier training and competitive rowing club for local middle and high school students. Ten children from the Port Washington and Roslyn areas, ranging from seventh to tenth grade, attended. There, they learned the fundamentals of rowing and boat operation.

The idea is the brainchild of a former Port Rowing member and current Stanford University rower Lindsey Rust. She wanted to combine her internship’s volunteer requirement with her passion for crew.

After posting flyers throughout various communal spaces and consulting with many local organizations to help spread the news, they found campers.

“[Rowing’s] given me so many opportunities in terms of college, meeting people, building a network,” she said. “It also taught me so much about teamwork, hard work, planning and overcoming adversity.”

Rust has also achieved success at the international level. She earned bronze in the lightweight pair at the 2021 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

The Roslyn High School alum said she will always be grateful for the sport. She added that introducing that love to people who may not have otherwise had the chance was amazing.

“It feels cool to help other people in the community get out of rowing what it gave me because it really changed my life,” said Rust. “It was just an amazing feeling to see other people take up the sport and see what potential they could have in the future.”

Rust said that another key aim of the camp was to teach teamwork. She hopes for the free camp to become a yearly tradition for Port Rowing.

Lindsey’s mother Judy Langley-Rust, a volunteer for the organization, acknowledged the elitist stigma the sport often gets. She said because of this, many don’t consider rowing when looking at sports for their children.

“Port Rowing has always had scholarship opportunities for kids in the community,” she said. “But I don’t think kids in the underserved communities knew much about the scholarships that were available because they didn’t really know much about the sport. I mean, I didn’t really know much about crew before somebody recommended to me I should have my daughter try it out.”

Crew is a noncontact activity, so parents won’t have to worry about concussions or other head-related issues, she added. She also said one still receives a team-based sport, with all the advantages that entail.

“Port Rowing helps kids get scholarships into schools,” she said. “Even if they don’t wind up rowing in college, it helps build their build their resume.”

Those who want to row can apply for scholarships offered by Port Rowing. Anyone interested can go to portrowing.org.

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