Youth Outreach • Adaptive Rowing
Rowing and kayaking change lives in many ways. Some changes are character building. Others open minds to new possibilities. And some lead to adventures never imagined. Rowing and kayaking change lives in the most positive ways – and we believe it’s time to get Oklahoma City on the water!
People of all ages and all levels of ability are discovering the life-changing potential at the Oklahoma River. Corporate rowers tell us the sport brings co-workers together in ways that build new friendships. Dragon boaters learn about teamwork. New rowers and kayakers are amazed at how their new-found skills alter their lives – some with a sense of empowerment, others enjoying the serenity and balance of the sports.
Perhaps nowhere is the life-changing potential more visible than in our youth outreach and adaptive rowing programs.
OKC Boathouse Foundation Youth Outreach program engages Oklahoma City youth in an array of activities at the Oklahoma River with a special focus on rowing and kayaking. As these young people become involved, we see them…
• Improving health and fitness levels
• Developing leadership skills
• Discovering the power of teamwork
• Experiencing pride in learning a new sport
• Expanding their life experiences
• Building self-esteem
• Working hard to achieve goals
• Becoming excited about the potential for college scholarships!
The fulfillment of this youth outreach vision will be developing scholastic rowing and kayaking leagues with schools from across the metro putting teams on the water for intramural racing. Success will be measured in the number of young lives, which will forever be changed.
Providing support for the OKCBF youth outreach is a powerful way to bring opportunity to Oklahoma City’s youth while bringing the Oklahoma River to life for families across the metro.
Rowing can be a challenging sport for anyone, which makes it all the more amazing that it is such a great sport for those facing physical challenges or disabilities. As a US Olympic & Paralympic Training Site for both rowing and canoe/kayak, the OKC Boathouse Foundation is committed to providing these opportunities for disabled athletes at all levels of the sport. At an elite level, the OKCBF has hosted the US National Adaptive Team for training at the Oklahoma River on several occasions, while at an entry level, we’ve developed an adaptive program for the visually impaired.
Under the direction of two visionary volunteers, Gary and Guyla Mayo, the OKC Boathouse Foundation has partnered with New View Oklahoma (formerly Oklahoma League for the Blind) to create the Visually Impaired Adaptive Rowing Project (VIAPR) for a core group of visually impaired athletes. Coaches and volunteers meet weekly to get rowers on the water with amazing results. Today, they’ve adopted the team name “Vipars” and are now racing at regattas, giving their sighted competitors a run for their money. But the real payoff comes in the new friendships, new comaraderie and new sense of accomplishment everyone – staff, volunteers and visually impaired rowers alike – have in their lives.
It’s not often that you have the opportunity to change lives in such important ways. We invite you to join us in developing these important initiatives. To learn more, contact Executive Director Mike Knopp by email or call (405) 552-4040.