Crew Haven Youth Rowing Program to Start this Fall

Crew Haven Corporation and Canal Dock Boathouse have partnered to create the Crew Haven Youth Rowing Program, a Sports Based Youth Development program that will bring competitive and recreational rowing, as well as academic after-school programming, to students in underrepresented communities in New Haven.  The program, which launches this Fall, will be underwritten by Crew Haven Corporation (“CHC”) and operated by the Canal Dock Boathouse. 

The Crew Haven Youth Rowing Program, also known as Crew Haven, will begin full after-school programing this September. In the meantime, Crew Haven is already conducting summer rowing camps out of New Haven’s Canal Dock Boathouse, with the majority of the camp spots offered to qualified high school students for free. 

“Our summer introductory rowing clinics have started,” said Hollis Martens, Executive Director of Canal Dock Boathouse. “We anticipate teaching over twenty novice rowers basic rowing skills during the summer. After a long year of sheltering in place and remote learning, our kids finally have a safe and fun way to be on the water”. Martens said that the goal by the end of this Fall was to have twenty students participating in the year-round program, with full academic programing and mentoring added to an expanded rowing and water safety program. 

According to Lawrence Lopez-Menzies, President and co-founder of CHC, CHC has donated over $100,000 to the Canal Dock Boathouse to help get Crew Haven off the ground, with the majority of the proceeds going to hire both a program director and a rowing coach to help Martens prepare full programming for the Fall. 

“One of Crew Haven’s key goals is to diversify the sport of rowing by making it more accessible to students of color”, said Lopez-Menzies, who lives in Connecticut and rowed on the varsity crew team at Yale. “We’re lucky that we have access to the Canal Dock Boathouse to teach young people how to row safely, and we’re excited to support Hollis in hiring experts to help augment that with academic support and mentoring”. 

Martens and Lopez-Menzies stressed that the success of Crew Haven would be measured by the local community it is intended to serve. Martens intends to partner extensively with local public schools and community athletic organizations to help get more kids safely on the water. 

“We love what Crew Haven is doing”, said Deirdre (Dee Dee) Hamilton, Assistant Rowing Coach and Community Outreach Facilitator at The Sound School, “The sport of rowing teaches kids that everyone is of equal importance. It’s a sport that emphasizes collaboration between peers. The fact that the Crew Haven program at Canal Dock exists,  and is adding tutoring and mentoring to prepare our kids for the future, is outstanding!”  

Canal Dock Boathouse, Inc. (“Canal Dock”) is a New Haven, Connecticut 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Canal Dock has partnered with the City of New Haven to conduct community-oriented, waterfront boating activities at The Canal Dock Boathouse on Long Wharf. In addition to youth rowing, multiple types of recreational boating opportunities are already underway (including dragon boating, kayaking & adult rowing) and new programs are planned for the future. All programs for New Haven public school students are free. In addition, public education programs in environmental science will be a signature initiative in the near future.

CHC is a nonprofit organization that was created in January of 2021 to work hand in glove with the Canal Dock Boathouse, providing funding for the Crew Haven Youth Rowing Program and helping the Canal Dock Boathouse with strategy and execution. CHC underwrites the Crew Haven Youth Rowing Program through a combination of individual donors, outreach, grants and local New Haven events.  

For more information on Crew Haven, or to enroll in the summer or Fall after-school programs, contact Hollis Martens at hollis@canaldock.org. 

Registration information can be found here.

Further press coverage can be found at the Daily Nutmeg or the New Haven Independent.