May 2020
Hi all,
Boat ramps, I hear, will be in the first wave of non-essential openings. This could have something to do with the fishermen and the stripers that are making their way up to Holyoke this week or simply because outdoor recreation doesn't necessarily require close contact.

We will be ready when we get the go ahead. With your help, we are confident we can maintain a safe environment for us all to get back on the water. First on the water will be private scullers, then club scullers and kayakers. 

When social distancing is not required, we will get back to sweep rowing. I encourage you all to take this opportunity to become a sculler or become a better sculler.  Sculling will dramatically improve your abilities as a rower.  

We have used this time off the water to get projects done and to welcome volunteers from a safe distance. Rushel and Austine have worked on our picnic tables and porch, Daniel and Lainie (our neighbors down the street) have been working on the deck by the stairs, high school alum Jimmy Meir helped with the barge - getting it ready for painting-- as have Karen and Jeanne. Aiden and Simon are beginning our gas shed. John has been building super --- painting, fixing and organizing in so many different and delightful ways. I am sure I have missed other volunteers. Thank you all. 

Before you return, we will send out a document with our safety and cleaning protocols. John has built an oar cleaning station and is creating physical structures to help us keep the building and equipment clean before and after we use it. 

Looking forward to seeing you all soon. 

-Stephanie Moore
Director and Coach, Holyoke Rows

Here are just a few of the things happening at the boathouse:
  • As Stephanie mentioned, the porch and picnic tables have been painted (thanks to Rushel and Austine, in the photo above)
  • The barge is being prepped for a new coat of paint
  • Adirondack chairs will get fresh paint
  • The jungle at the town side of the parking lot is being beaten back
  • The doors have been repaired- they work! and they are about to get fresh paint
  • Oars and the long trailer will be painted

-A cover for the barge. Anyone for no more bailing? How about sewing skills?
-A lawn mower
-A wheelbarrow

If you'd like to help with any of these projects, or find out about other volunteer opportunities, that would be tremendous. Please text Stephanie or email

One safety measure we'll be taking to protect people against COVID-19 is disinfecting oar and paddle handles. This rack makes it simple. Just place the oar or paddle on the rack and wash it down with a bleach mixture we'll have on hand. The rack's on wheels so it's easy to move back into the boathouse.  

Many thanks to all the Holyoke Rows members who are healthcare workers, support staff and other essential workers.

In photo above: Veterans Dragon Boat USA Team member and healthcare worker, Rick Purcell, shares an update from Baystate Medical Center. Since this photo was taken, many more patients have been discharged!

Q & A with Laddy Rua, Dragon Boater
Q: What's the best part of dragon boating?
Laddy: I think the best part is the team and coaches. Being able to spend time with a group of diverse people who all want to train, relieve some stress and just take time for oneself! 

Q: What’s your dragon boating goal?
Laddy: To help my coaches train me and my teammates and keep our team growing to be the best all-veteran team in the world. We are the first but do not want to be the last! 

Q: What's your favorite seat in the boat and why?
Laddy: Hmm. I think seat three, the pacers section where I am now. But the engine is the strongest so I’d like to be better and then move there.

Q: What was your role in the military?
Laddy: I am a USNavy /14- year Veteran. My military role was a Damage ControlMan 2nd Class; in the civilian role it’s a Certified FireFighter with a specialization in Emergency Management. My role basically was to train and onboard all new personnel joining our squadron to ensure the Ships Fire Prevention, maintenance, along with Chemical, Biological, Radiological Warfare Training was completed and up to regulations.

Q: What do you do when you're not dragon boating?
I’m bored and miserable when I'm not rowing! Okay, not miserable but I’m an absolute workaholic and a full-time mom to two busy teenagers. I eat, workout a bit and clean a lot!

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Laddy: That I am a certified Fire Fighter who also speaks 3 languages fluently (Spanish, Italian, English) and I have a fear of drowning. 

Q: Do you have a funny or embarrassing anecdote about dragon boating you’d share?
Laddy: Lol! Wear a buttpad and definitely no white t-shirts or see -through leggings!

Q: Anything you’d like to add?
Laddy: I just am blessed and cannot thank Holyoke Rows, the VA, DAV, and our sponsors for giving us such an amazing opportunity to be where we are today. It’s surreal that Dragon Boat racing is as big as it is today and I can’t wait to grow with it! 


Who's Who is a regular column profiling members of Holyoke Rows. 
If you have extra plants or plants you'd like to divide in your garden, perhaps you'd like to see them here every time you walk down to the water. Forsythia and other sun-loving, flowering shrubs, lilies and pachysandra to keep the slope from sliding are just a few plants that would be lovely here. Shares don't have to be big. One plant is wonderful too. Please contact Stephanie at

This is the time of year when dragon boat training ramps up in preparation for racing festivals. Although the racing schedule is uncertain given the COVID-19 situation, it’s important to be ready. With that in mind, we had begun outdoor training together, yet apart. That was short-lived when further social restrictions were imposed and more people started gathering on our favorite walking trails. So we developed a workout program of core exercises and cardio that team members can perform at home to maintain strength and stamina (with or without this impressive weight-training
space one team member has, below).

Here's what happens when you have one of those milestone birthdays (ending in zero) during the Coronavirus quarantine. You get a float! Happy Birthday to masters rower Lydia! And happy birthday to Steph Colella too, another masters rower with a quarantine birthday. Actually, happy birthday to everyone having a birthday during this time! 
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Find more information about Holyoke Rows at Check out the newsletter archive in the NEWS section.
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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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