December 2019

Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends of Holyoke Rows,

This spring we are celebrating 20 years of Holyoke Rows. Our community boathouse project got started with a bunch of girl scouts carrying boats up over the levee in Springdale Park and wading into the river to learn how to row. We stored boats in the former Polar Beverage parking lot (now the Sullivan Steel Building) and caught the city's attention.  

Now 20 years later, we operate out of a beautiful municipal boathouse – the Sue Ellen Panitch Boathouse at Jones Ferry – and offer much more than rowing.  We have kayaks, canoes, racing kayaks, singles, doubles and four and eight – person rowing shells. We also offer adaptive programs and, new this year, we have a veteran's dragon boat team.  We host regattas, kayak races and potlucks! This all happened because people believed in our mission to create river access and recreation that was accessible to everyone regardless of income or physical ability. Thank you to all those supporters, donors and volunteers.      

We are sending this request in part in response to a generous $10,000 gift Holyoke Rows recently received from an alum. It was a gift much larger than anything I felt we had ever given him. I asked him why and he simply said it was time for him to give back. I am proud to be part of an organization where people want to give back. I see it every day when people volunteer for the multitude of tasks at the boathouse, at the events we host and through the mentoring of new rowers that occurs at every practice.  

As we recognize those who made it possible, I also want those who have participated to recognize their roles as alumni. It hit me this year that youth who rowed in some of our very first high school teams are now solidly in adulthood with careers and kids.  People before you believed in the value of providing opportunities for you.  If you value your experience at Holyoke Rows, if your time with us made a difference in your life, we hope you’ll pay it forward with a donation to our Youth Rowing Program. 

We’re trying to raise $15,000 so we can continue to offer opportunities to youth and adults in our community. A successful campaign would allow us to upgrade our rowing shells. Some of the boats we use every day date back to our first year as a program and are hand-me-downs from Mount Holyoke College. They are vintage 1990's and we can't get spare parts anymore.  We don't need brand new, but we want boats that can be repaired and that are lighter for our aging adult population – we have three people in their 70's rowing in our evening adult program and racing!  

Please accept this invitation to be part of what we do – to take pride in providing opportunities for people in your community to get out on the river and discover the outdoors and themselves. And please, if you are an alum, come down and say hello or get in a boat. We’d love to see you on the water! 

To make a donation, go to the Donations page on our website or mail your donation to Holyoke Rows, 25 Jones Ferry Rd., Holyoke, MA, 01040.

Thanks for your support, and best wishes.

Stephanie Moore, Executive Director

Stephanie Colella, Board President

Whether you're a rower, a dragon boater, a kayaker or just want to erg, join us and stay fit and strong (and get fitter and stronger!). Workouts include erging, weight training and stretching. Folks can do as much as they're able to.  

Dragon boaters meet: 
Mon. and Wed., 6 - 7:30 pm  

Rowers meet: 
Tues. and Thurs. evenings, 5:30 - 7 pm and on Sat. mornings, 7:30 - to 9 am.

To try to accommodate busy schedules, all erging sessions are open to both rowers and dragon boaters. Adaptive erging is available too.
We hope to see you on the ergs!

Mark Your Calendar!

WHEN: Sat. Jan. 11, 2020 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: The boathouse
WHO: Everyone who's part of the Holyoke Rows community is invited. Dragon boaters, rowers, kayakers, and all the rest!

Come and share what you like about Holyoke Rows and what you'd like to see in the future. Would you like to see other programs offered? Could we be doing better in a certain area? What have been your favorite experiences?  How could we bring more people to Holyoke Rows? This is your boathouse and we need you help to guide its evolution. Btw, this newsletter was started as a result of last year's meeting!

Coffee and snacks will be served.

Q & A with Miranda Brunette, Rower and Coxswain

Q: What's the best part of being a coxswain?
Miranda: The best part about being a coxswain is steering the boat since it is an interesting mechanism. The hardest part is trying to make everyone happy and pay attention to everything all at the same time.

Q: What have the highlights of being part of HR been?
Miranda: Racing in the Head of the Charles Regatta was one highlight. I also loved spring season for high school rowing and especially the people and Friday night dinners at the boat house. I have met so many nice people and learned so much from being at the boathouse. I also loved working at the summer camps! 

Q: Tell us more about your experience at the Head of the Charles Regatta.
Miranda: The Head of the Charles was the biggest sports event I have ever been in or even seen and I was super excited even though I had to wake up at three in the morning. I rowed with Ella Budington. It was a tricky race and it didn't help that I forgot my map, though I have been told I steered a good course.

Q: You and your sister, Charlotte, are both coxswains. Would you say your have similar styles?
Miranda: I think we both have our strengths in different areas because Charlotte is better at directing and motivating but I usually steer a better course. Working with my sister is sometimes a struggle because we have very different opinions and ways of doing things but honestly, I wouldn't even have the job without her so it is great.

Q: What do you like to do when you're not at Holyoke Rows?
Miranda: I like to play the cello and ukulele and participate in the As Schools Match Wits club.

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Miranda: I am a competitive swimmer and am going on my tenth season swimming. I started when I was five years old.

                  Above from left: Ella, T, and Miranda at the Head of the Charles Regatta.                                        
Who's Who is a regular column profiling members of the Holyoke Rows community. 
Watch for a Q&A with Miranda's sister, Charlotte, in the next newsletter.



Give up? Members of Veterans Dragon Boat USA donated gifts to Project New Hope/Westfield for their Operation Jeepers Christmas, which fulfills wish lists for military and veteran families. This is a photo of the gifts, safely belted in, being transported in a special holiday sleigh with, perhaps, heated seats and a cupholder.

We've added some exciting new features. For instance, you can now find past newsletters on our new NEWS page. Take a spin around the site and see fresh pages, photos and more!
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If you have an item you'd like included in an upcoming newsletter, please send it to for consideration. Thanks!

Copyright © 2019 Holyoke Rows. All rights reserved.

Holyoke Rows
25 Jones Ferry Rd.
Holyoke, MA 01040

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Holyoke Rows · 25 Jones Ferry Rd · Holyoke, MA 01040-5307 · USA

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