Posted: October 6, 2017
These Girls Can Row....
...but none of the four girls from Ruchazie Parish Church Youth Club had ever been in a rowing boat before a new project began this summer at Glasgow Rowing Club.
The initiative, created by Henley Stewards Charitable Trust Coach, Miki Lee Dale, brought the club together with Active East, the Glasgow 2014 legacy programme for people in the East of Glasgow through Scottish Sporting Futures.
Getting young people into boats on the Clyde is as much about encouraging them to work together, break down boundaries, and build friendships through shared adventures as it was about learning to row.
Following the initial month-long taster sessions on the river and in the gym, the girls had enjoyed things so much they signed up on the four week Learn to Row course to build on their skills and experience.
“I’m really pleased for the girls,” said Miki. “They took to it and picked things up really well and their skills and confidence came on loads.”
Judging from the girls’ reactions they learnt much over the eight weeks.
When asked how much she had improved as a rower, 11-year-old Kimberly gave herself 10 out of 10: “I really enjoyed learning to row forwards, backwards, do a 360 turn left and right. I have never rowed before and I’d like to have the chance to do it.”
Lucy (12), enjoyed the independence of getting on the Clyde and solving challenges: “I learnt to row, how to steer and how to get myself out of a bush. I’m not the best rower but I can still row and like to keep rowing.”
Twelve-year-old Beth said: “I really enjoyed learning how to row a boat and getting to know the people that work here.”
There’s an almost uniquely satisfying feeling that comes with teaching a new skill, which is a big part of the reason that keeps people volunteering in sport.
Jackie McGuigan, Glasgow RC member and volunteer coach, sums up her experience: “Spending time with the girls at the club was a really rewarding and enjoyable experience.
“I only took up rowing a few years ago in my forties so I know how daunting the first few outings can be.
“But watching the girls rise to the challenge, see their confidence and interest in the sport grow every week, whilst having enormous amounts of fun, made it really worthwhile for everyone involved.”
These Girls Can now become club members if they choose. Meanwhile Glasgow RC and the staff at the Ruchazie Parish Church are discussing ways to keep the programme going.