Nothing short of amazing.

Founded in 2002 by Amanda Kraus, Row New York started as a small all-girls program in Queens. Today, the organization sports three boathouses and offers youth, masters, adaptive, and learn-to row programs. Every aspect of the organization trumpets their motto, “Pulling Together to Push Ahead.”

“Row New York is exceptional in that 80% of our middle and high school students participate in our programs at no cost,” says Ruby Lyon, Marketing and Communications Manager, Row New York. “Our adaptive programs for people with physical and/or mental disabilities, as well as our youth programs for those from underserved communities, offer the opportunity to experience the joy, teamwork and community that is unique to rowing.”

Youth Programs

Many New York City school districts lack the resources needed to keep students healthy. Many do not even have access to green spaces; recess consists of a mere walk around the block. This lack of basic needs plays directly into the some 85% of students who do not meet the recommended physical activity level nationwide. Through Row New York Youth programs, athletes learn the crucial importance of a healthy lifestyle, and 100% of its participants meet this recommended physical activity level. Rowing also instills the confidence, discipline and mentality that helps teens develop and mature, all the while providing an irreplicable sense of community and family.

Row New York Youth programs also provide students with tools to succeed, offering academic counseling and help with standardized testing. “An incredible 100% of Row New York athletes graduate high school on time, compared to 69% of NYC high school students,” said Lyon. Additionally, over the past 10 years, 96% of Row New York’s graduates have matriculated to college. Whether it’s providing homework aid, SAT/ACT Prep, or a hot meal, this program is a second home to its athletes.

In addition to its main competitive youth program, Row New York has a number of outreach projects that greatly benefit the New York City Community.

  1. Middle School Indoor — a “traveling” program for New York area middle schools — teaches students the mechanics of rowing, how to erg and how to live a healthy.
  2. The Juvenile Justice program does the same for young adults in detention centers. Rowing offers them an outlet for releasing energy in a positive manner, as well as the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Both of these programs have changed the lives of many young people.

Adaptive Programs

Another important piece of the mission-based programming at Row New York is their adaptive rowing opportunities. Every Saturday, the boathouse in Queens hosts people with physical and mental disabilities.

Row New York also works with District 75, a New York School district comprised of 57 special schools designed to help and teach students with disabilities. Similar to Middle School Indoor, Row New York partners with District 75 in teaching students how to erg and row on water with their on-site visiting program.

Row New York’s new Freedoms Rows program kicked off its first season several weeks ago. Freedom Rows is branch of USRowing that teaches disabled veterans and members of the armed forces how to row. As we have discussed in earlier posts, rowing is an incredibly therapeutic sport — both physically and mentally — and Freedom Rows greatly benefits its participants.


Master Programs

Not just for students and young adults, Row New York also offers masters programs, recreational and competitive, as well as learn-to-row programs for those who want to get involved in the sport. The masters programs help fund the mission-based youth and adaptive programs, making Row New York one big family.

A Home Away from Home

Row New York is not a club or program, but a home. It supports its athletes far beyond the boat, and everyone works together to give anyone — no matter their circumstance — the opportunity to experience the incomparable community that is rowing. Alumni can row competitively without cost in the masters programs, and masters often help with youth and adaptive programs through volunteering and workshops.

Career panels, mentorships, and organization-wide regattas bring together athletes of different ages and abilities for a completely unique bonding experience.

Looking to the future, Row New York has plans for growth and expansion, with more boathouses and more opportunities for outreach. In the coming years, they will “keep pulling forward to push ahead”.

For more information:

Photos courtesy of Row New York’s Claudia Loeber, 2017

Located on the clear, azure waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, Miami Beach Rowing Club is a rower’s paradise. Founded in 1995, the club is known for its hard work ethic and strong presence in the Miami Beach community. In addition to its youth and masters programs, MBRC warmly welcomes teams from around the country who come to escape the cold weather of winter. As if all of this was not enough for one of the most dynamic clubs in the country, MBRC is also home to a fast-growing — and winning — adaptive rowing program.


The MBRC Adaptive Rowing program began only a couple of years ago in 2014 by an amazing group of volunteers, and offers the opportunity for athletes — no matter what their situation or ability — the incredible opportunity to participate in a life-changing sport. Whether athletes want to be involved on a recreational basis, or compete at the international level, MBRC is there to make it happen. Amazingly, this young program already boasts Olympic experience! Helman Roman, an Afghanistan war veteran, and his double partner Laura Goodkind, competed in the trunk and arms event at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio! MBRC was the first club to receive the designation of Paralympic Sport club from the United States Olympic Committee.


In the summer of 2015, Stephanie Parrish, previously an assistant coach at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, took on the position as the first head coach of the adaptive program. I had the opportunity to visit with Coach Parrish, and see firsthand the great success of the adaptive program, while on one of those aforementioned training trips to MBRC. It was inspiring to see the incredible work ethic of the athletes, and how we as a community can make rowing truly limitless. Whether it’s a fixed seat erg or boat with stabilizer pontoons, MBRC’s adaptive resources give its athletes every opportunity for success.


Looking as much like a supermodel as she does a head coach, Coach Parrish exudes a contagious enthusiasm and dedication to the sport and her athletes. She spoke passionately about the extraordinary healing powers of rowing. Since beginning at MBRC, she said her whole perspective on rowing has changed. “I feel like I have a completely different appreciation for rowing. Up until [joining MRBC] I had been coaching and competing at the Division I level and working with athletes who had a path sort of laid out for them. They were training for a specific, focused team goal and time spent at the boathouse was all business. Now I can see how therapeutic and peaceful it can be; I realized I had always associated rowing with intensity and pressure. I guess the biggest change I’ve noticed in myself is that I have a newfound love for rowing!” said Coach Parrish.


Parrish shared how the program has changed the lives of its athletes. For some, she said, rowing has brought a renewed feeling of independence. Athletes are able to push themselves physically in a way that other adaptive sports wouldn’t allow. Ultimately, she said, the program provides its participants with a sort of therapy, whether physical, mental or emotional.


MBRC’s adaptive program has attracted the attention of the Miami community in a big way. People with disabilities in the Miami area have a thrilling new activity in which they can participate and members of the community have the opportunity to volunteer. It’s been especially popular for members of the MBRC Junior Team, who often volunteer over the summer to help at the boathouse. Coach Parrish says “I think people see that they can give back to the sport and the boathouse community by being a part of our program, and that’s an amazing thing to witness and be a part of.”


Note: You can learn more about MBRC’s adaptive program at: and follow them on Instagram at @mbrcpararowing


Row Well. Do Good.