In 2019, we welcomed 30 excited yet apprehensive adults on our Learn to Row course: thirteen in April, and 17 in October … more when the weather is colder, which is always surprising but sets them up nicely for the summer months ahead.
Learn to Row is always a busy time for the Club and those members who volunteer to support both me and the visitors but it’s a time where there are new experiences, new learnings, and a lot of fun as each stage of the course comes to fruition.
We use a gymnasium full of ergos, two bank tubs and four stable boats for these introduction courses and rotate smaller groups around each to ensure everyone gets their fair share of learning whilst also getting time out on the water, which is obviously what they are all waiting for ….
But first, they need knowledge … and the infamous Weil’s disease chat is always a favourite! Welcome to Broxbourne! One or two experienced people supervise the ergo exercises, whilst two more introduce LTRs to the bank tubs whilst four coxswains, and not any old coxswains, but coxswains with nerves of steel, gather together an experienced stroke and bow for each of the four boats ready to take excited people out on the water.
Obviously there needs to be someone with a list of names to make sure that everyone has a go at everything. If you add all that up it comes to – err – quite a lot of volunteers.
But you mustn’t think that looking after the beginners is a painful duty. Phil, who started rowing in March, sat in with the beginners one Sunday morning and when I thanked him he said “It’s great, they are loving it!” And I agree with him. It is a good feeling when you see the new faces looking so pleased with themselves after their outings. One thing that always stands out for me, it the sudden look of anxiety on their faces when they notice that the cox has been given a buoyancy aid but they haven’t!