STORY AND PHOTO COURTESY POCOCK ROWING FOUNDATION
In March of 2023, the GPRF officially partnered with the global leader in the rowing equipment industry, Concept2, Inc., to expand access to rowing to students throughout the United States through the GPRF’s Erg Ed® program. Concept2’s commitment of funds and equipment to this effort will allow Erg Ed® to expand to six new locations over the next three years.
Erg Ed® is a classroom-based indoor rowing education program that teaches school-aged students the fundamentals of rowing on Concept2 RowErg machines. Originally launched in 2010 by the GPRF, the Erg Ed® program currently operates in 18 cities in 9 different states. Through Erg Ed®, students use rowing to learn essential life skills such as fitness, goal setting, and teamwork. These awardees are the first two new sites to be added, increasing the program to 10 states and 20 cities, with an estimated reach of 60,000 students annually.
“The Erg Ed® program represents a large-scale, systemic change in how young people of all backgrounds access and experience the sport of rowing. In each school district, students learn the basics on the same equipment they’d encounter in their local rowing program so that they come into a new environment confident and comfortable,” said Jon Campaña, Director of Rowing Programs at the GPRF. “We are so excited to partner with Concept2 to expand our reach.”
With the support of Concept2 and a diligent grant application process, the GPRF is prepared to announce the two newest Erg Ed® sites, supporting these locations with 20 Concept2 RowErgs, the Erg Ed® curriculum, and teacher training for their school district.
“Without a national partner, Erg Ed®’s ability to expand has been on hold since 2019. When we approached Concept2 about joining our efforts to expand our reach, they were immediately enthusiastic. With Concept2’s ongoing support, we can ensure that more young people are exposed to the sport through a PE class, just like one might be exposed to basketball or soccer,” said Jenn Gibbons, Executive Director for the GPRF.
The GPRF is thrilled to partner with Concept2 and introduce an estimated 20,000 students to rowing through this school-based program.
“Rowing is a great fitness option for kids because it suits all sizes and ages. It’s also a lifelong sport that empowers kids for a lifetime of fitness. In addition, it opens the door to opportunities for rowing on water in high school, college, or beyond. We’re excited to partner with GPRF’s Erg Ed® program to expand access to new communities,” shared Judy Geer, Concept2 co-owner.
In collaboration with the Cherokee County School District, Allatoona Rowing Association in Cherokee County, GA, will launch Erg Ed in 8 middle schools with a combined population of 9,600 students this fall. The strength of this program is in its thorough plan of execution and logistics. We are confident that this community is poised to fully implement an Erg Ed program throughout their target schools due to the support and strong connections with the city, school district, parks & recreation services, and the local Boys & Girls Club.
“As the grateful recipient of the Concept2/GPRF Erg Ed Grant, in partnership with the Cherokee County School District, we strive to help our local youth find and start rowing. Through Erg Ed and the ergs provided by Concept2, our local youth, of all backgrounds and abilities, will be introduced to rowing, as well as the teamwork, goal setting, and personal fitness that can be learned through it. The Erg Ed curriculum provides a welcoming, fun, and educational introduction to rowing in an extraordinary physical education experience. Through Erg Ed, almost 10,000 local middle school students will experience rowing, many of whom may have never been aware of the sport previously. We are so thankful for the opportunity to implement Erg Ed and share the sport of rowing on a transformative level in our community.” – Ann Carey, Director and Head Coach of Alltoona Rowing Association
In partnership with School District 65in Evanston, Ilinois, North Channel Community Rowing will launch Erg Ed in 5 middle schools this fall with a combined population of 3,000 students. The strength of this organization is its strong commitment to diversifying its program and reflecting the community they are in. We are confident this organization is well positioned to both implement the program and have a high amount of impact in their communities of color.
“The founders of North Channel Community Rowing in partnership with Evanston/Skokie’s District 65 are grateful to be a recipient of a C2/GPRF Erg Ed Grant. The grant and its supporting curriculum will bolster our mission of introducing rowing to underrepresented middle school kids in our community. We are excited to get to work with the Pocock Foundation and all the other recipient programs around the country.” – Michael Wyman, Co-Founder of North Channel Community Rowing
About Alltoona Rowing Association
Allatoona Rowing Association offers competitive and recreational Olympic-style rowing for youth (ages 12-18) and adults, on beautiful Lake Allatoona. Sculling (two oars) and sweep rowing (one oar) are available. ARA’s Rowing Park is located within Cherokee Mills Park at 6900 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock, GA.
About North Channel Community Rowing
North Channel Community Rowing (NCCR) is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting diversity and access to the sport of rowing through youth programs targeting under-represented students in Evanston, IL. NCCR aims to cultivate a passion for reaching one’s highest potential through exposure to an exciting sport that instills lifelong values, camaraderie, and discipline.
About the George Pocock Rowing Foundation
Since its inception in 1984, The George Pocock Foundation (GPRF) has been focused on supporting and growing the sport of rowing in the Seattle area and the greater Pacific Northwest. As a leader in the sport, the GPRF works to help young people access and experience the life-changing sport of rowing, regardless of background or circumstance.
Founded in 1976 by rowers Peter and Dick Dreissigacker, Concept2 designs, manufactures, and sells oars for on-water rowing, as well as the RowErgs, the SkiErgs, and the BikeErgs for indoor training. Concept2 promotes and encourages the growth of rowing, both indoors and outdoors, and believes that rowing is a lifelong activity accessible to all.