Hanlan Youth Camp Best Ever

Story by Deb Cumming Hanlan’s  2013 youth rowing camp  was its biggest and best yet!  It ran for four weeks in July during which Hanlan members had the pleasure of teaching 50 kids how to row, or row better!  There were quite a few returning rowers from previous years' camps.   A string of firsts this year, largely attributable to the talent and enthusiasm of the kids, was achieved.

  •  first ever Hanlan summer camp RACING
  • first time in summer camp experience that we had campers in racing doubles – Quicksilver and Double Vision both saw active duty!
  • first time ever in summer camp experience that we had campers in racing quads

Victory!  Youth volunteer Tessa Buchan is in the cox seat.

We were blessed with good weather and not one day was rained out.  Although the winds were occasionally a bit of a challenge, they were manageable thanks to the wonderful boats that  JC Marley managed to borrow from Ontario Adventure Rowing.  A huge thank you to JC and to OAR for those boats which are trailered from Belleville.  They have made a huge difference in building the rowers’ confidence and enabling them to focus on rowing technique.

Again this year there were amazing kids in the camp – interested, enthusiastic, and really prepared to work hard to learn, to improve and to move those boats.  A 3-hour rowing camp - in July – is not for the faint of heart.   A lot of hard work in a lot of heat but the kids even retained their enthusiasm in that 40 plus heat of mid-July!

Happy campers in a quad.

A lot of ingredients go into making the camp a success – the kids themselves, the weather and, of course, the volunteers.  The contribution made by Hanlan members to the camp is HUGE – no one is paid and the demands for personnel are considerable.  Each crew needs an experienced cox and a coachboat.  I was a bit worried about my ability to find enough volunteers to staff a four-week camp but ... I needn’t have been.   The support was overwhelming.

A huge thank you to:

Nick Matthews and Vic Gustavison, who have given so much time and talent to this program since its inception in  2010

Harry Vanderlugt who initially volunteered for one week and stayed for 3, doing whatever was needed

Sara Erskine who for the second year in a row took time off work to cox for the kids

Elissa Gallander, also a returning cox, who is so committed to the program that she signs on a year in advance!

Adrian Cornelissen, who committed to a week of coxing and then generously rearranged his work schedule to give a second week when I needed the help

Craig Thompson, who filled a cox seat on very short notice,loved it, and wants to do more next year

Sue Gustavison, who graciously bakes for every  Friday picnic (EVERYBODY looks forward to Sue’s goodies ... campers and coaches alike.).  The campers all know that Sue is married to Vic and are demanding that she make an appearance next year; they want to meet her!

Each camp week ends with a picnic on Ward's Island or the Leslie Street spit.

And - last but definitely not least - a thank you to the amazing rowers from Lauren Brown’s junior program ...  Tessa Buchan, Ollie Couttolenc, and Andrew Johnston.

These three rowers each gave three full weeks to the camp, coxing or rowing as needed.  After their hard mornings workouts, they came off the water and turned around almost immediately to jump in to camp boats. They were coxing, filling in an empty seat, or taking campers out in smaller boats.  Foe example, stroking a double for the campers to follow or  steering a double and coaching a camper from bow seat.  They were a HUGE addition to the program and the campers and older coaches and coxes were glad to have them as part of the team.

A huge thank you to the participants of Camp 2013, to the wonderful volunteers  and camp supporters/enablers and to Mother Nature for cooperating.   We had a wonderful time!

Editorial Note: Deb Cumming has modestly ignored her own ENORMOUS contribution to the Youth Summer Camps that she has organized for the past four years.  The 2013 camp was preceded by 6 months or more of meetings and organizing, done single-handedly by Deb.  She also gave four weeks of her own summer to make everything happen seamlessly from registration, to a warm welcome, to organizing crews, volunteers and food on a daily basis.   Hanlan is very grateful to her for her efforts.