Building Strength One Oar at a Time: Queens Summer Camps

Building Strength One Oar at a Time: Queens Summer Camps

by Ruby Lyon

In July we opened the Queens boathouse to youth from all over New York City for our summer rowing camps. The camps were coached by an all-star team including Coach Char Rendon and our Summer Leaders: Lillian, Hillary, Jerrica, and Nowrin. Participants joined us from other youth-serving organizations. The aim was to promote teamwork, fitness, outdoor fun, and of course, get out on the water!

2016 Summer Camps:
NYC Administration for Children’s Services
NYU Langone’s Initiative for Women With Disabilities
Young Women’s Leadership Network
United Cerebral Palsy Of NYC
Power Play

Camp Highlight: Initiative for Women With Disabilities
Suzanne Hurwitz | Program Coordinator | Initiative for Women with Disabilities

“Just had to share – we are having such a great a week on the water thus far. All our participants are feeling so accomplished, perhaps none more so than our participant Jasmine. Jasmine who uses a ventilator went out on the water today for the first time in her 21 years. I am so proud that we are able to accommodate her needs on the boat and of her bravery to try with great success! (Could not have done it without Char!). Thank you so much for helping make her dreams come true.”


Jasmine hopes her story will inspire other people with SMA to get out on the water.

Camp Highlight | Young Women’s Leadership Network

“The goal for this year was to provide the students with a variety of experiences that are not only fun, but also challenge their ideas about what they like, give them the opportunity to try something new, and become stronger, braver young women leaders of the future.”


The Young Women’s Leadership Network gets out on the water as part of their TYWLS Explorers program. Photo Credit: Young Women’s Leadership Network

Our Summer Leaders

In June we held interviews for the 2016 Summer Leaders program. All Queens high school students were encouraged apply. Not only did participants benefit from the interview experience they gained – some left with a paying job! Four students were selected and started their journey as Summer Leaders last month. Nowrin Nisa, Jerrica Walllack, Lillian Rolle, and Hillary Rodriguez could be seen daily throughout July preparing the barges and boathouse for all of the summer camps. They were instrumental in teaching the techniques of rowing, helping other youth get out on the water, and ensuring the camps were a success. Curious what lessons they learned? Watch it here: