Steel City Rowing Club began in 1997 when its founders and board of directors saw that the sport of rowing was growing but that many high schools could not afford their own coaches and boats (which can cost $20,000 each), so students from lower-moderate income school districts were not able to compete in the sport of rowing at all. This inequity was a missed opportunity for these young people, since the number of college scholarships for rowing was at an all-time high. At the same time, there were students whose high schools had teams, but who needed more advanced training, particularly during the summer. They needed experienced coaching to help them develop their technique and realize their potential.
SCRC was designed to be a place for quality coaching for these youth. Soon, however, adults from the area came to SCRC to ask for rowing lessons, and parents asked if their elementary and middle school students could learn. SCRC responded by adding coaches and acquiring equipment to accommodate the increased demand. SCRC quickly grew from five members to over 300 people participating in its programs.
One thing that has remained constant over the years is the high expectation that SCRC coaches hold for each rower. Everyone at the club takes turns cleaning the boathouse, the rest rooms, the dock, and maintaining the grounds. They share the work, just as they pull together in the boat. This ethos now extends beyond SCRC: SCRC expects rowers to give back to the community through service. Service is part of the summer camp program for youth, and involves youth and adults, year round.
SCRC’s coaching prepares its rowers to succeed. Many of them are national and international champions, with gold medals at national and international events:
* SCRC youth rowers represented the U.S.A. in Bulgaria 1999, Germany 2001, Lithuania 2002, Greece 2003, Spain 2004, Germany 2005, the Netherlands in 2006, China in 2007 and France in 2009. And SCRC adult rowers have qualified for the national rowing championship
* SCRC Rowing Club is known by college coaches as one of the best places in the U.S. for the preparation of top-notch rowers. In just the past few years over 40 high school rowers at SCRC have earned college scholarships and entry to very competitive schools because of rowing. Among the many colleges that have recruited our students are these: Harvard University, Bates College, Brown University, Princeton University, Tulane University, SMU, Stanford University, Rutgers University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, Cornell University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania. The value of the scholarships they earned exceeds $1.5 million.
* In 2007, we created an after school and summer program where children and youth have the opportunity to learn the self-discipline, teamwork, and community service that are integral to rowing.
* An organization that advances the ethos of community service through volunteer work. Since our inception, we have enlisted over 200 volunteers providing over 200 hours of volunteer hours for our communities.