The Crew Haven Youth Rowing Program is a collaboration between Crew Haven Corporation and Canal Dock Boathouse, Inc. Crew Haven’s mission is to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive sport of rowing.
Through the establishment of a competitive and recreational rowing team in the city of New Haven, Crew Haven is committed to removing the barriers that have limited Black, Indigenous, and kids of color’s access to crew. With supplemental holistic activities and resources, Crew Haven will support young student-athlete’s communal, educational, familial and personal development.
Crew Haven is determined to prepare underrepresented young people for bright futures. The opportunity for adolescents residing in New Haven’s underserved neighborhoods to be introduced to crew will have far-reaching transformative impact for generations to come. Crew Haven will expand the benefits of organized sport by providing leadership development, team building activities, civic engagement, academic enrichment and academic support.
Crew Haven’s holistic programming will serve all youth from the New Haven community, including those who are disengaged from school or disconnected from after school activities. Sports and enrichment activities help build human and cultural capital, as well as develop and define children’s interests and skills. Data and academic research support the need for afterschool programming that provides youth with a multitude of services in a single location. Crew Haven student-athletes will have access to new and enriching experiences that will provide lifelong developmental benefits.
Crew Haven was founded in the Fall of 2020, as a response to the social justice upheaval spurred on by the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd. During the same time period, the documentary A Most Beautiful Thing premiered, detailing the life and rowing experiences of Arshay Cooper. This film sparked much discussion within the rowing community, underscoring both the transformative potential of the sport as well as the lack of accessibility in many communities of color.
Soon came discussion of how this issue could be tackled locally in New Haven. Having long been the site of historic Yale crew teams, New Haven still did not have its own youth rowing program. Lawrence Lopez-Menzies (Yale Heavyweight Crew ’14) came to Jim Millar (Yale Heavyweight Crew ’80) with an idea of broadening the availability of rowing to the New Haven community. As the idea began to develop, Mike Hard (Yale Lightweight Crew ’84), Laurie Yousman (Yale Lightweight Crew ’22) and Joyce Nett (Yale Women’s Crew ’79) joined the team. Currently, Lawrence, Jim, Mike, and Joyce serve on the board, with Canal Dock Executive Director, Hollis Martens and Canal Dock, Inc’s Vice Chair, Mitz Carr additionally serving on the Crew Haven Committee.
Currently, Crew Haven exists as a collaboration partnership between Crew Haven Corporation and Canal Dock Boathouse, Inc. Crew Haven Corporation serves to provide strategic direction and a funding source for the youth program, ensuring that the youth program continues to operate optimally for years to come. Canal Dock Boathouse is the execution arm of this partnership, with the expertise, facility, and time to run the programming.