Kids are taking to the water this summer as part of North Star Community Rowing, which also offers an adaptive program for youth and adults with disabilities.
Classes are open to the general public, but North Star is particularly interested in drawing kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
As part of a recent regatta in Madison, for example, they toured the University of Wisconsin campus. Women’s rowing is an NCAA sport and girls can receive rowing scholarships. Trimberger said the odds of a high school girl receiving a rowing scholarship is much higher than sports like basketball.
Five women co-founders — rowers, a teacher, a lawyer and physical therapists — gathered around a kitchen table and decided to launch the rowing organization about two years ago, and the nonprofit officially formed in 2016.
They loosely modeled the program after Row New York, which combines rowing with academic support and college counseling. They folded in a local adaptive rowing pilot program as well.
“We decided to try to do them together with the idea of expanding access to this sport that we all love,” said Trimberger. “…Rowing is a really great sport for people with disabilities. It’s easy to make it adaptive.”
The adaptive rowing program was based at Lake Nokomis last year, and the club continues to explore site options for 2017.
The youth program includes swimming lessons taught free of charge at the North Community YMCA, which Trimberger said is another big benefit for kids with disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Minnesota leads the country in minority drowning,” she said. “It’s really important to have real swim lessons and feel confident in the water.”
Youth summer practices begin June 20. For more information, visit northstarcommunityrowing.org.