PNRA founded Rowing Is Growing in 2008 with a grant from US Rowing and the US Olympic Committee.  Through Rowing Is Growing, PNRA invites youth from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Mercer County to participate in rowing with peers and coaches who will challenge their life expectations and goals.

Since 2008, hundreds of students have been touched by our outreach events through our in-school programs in the community as well as with events held with Olympic rowers who train at the Caspersen Rowing Center and engage with our outreach efforts.  Importantly, we have also worked intensively with more than 50 student-athletes from the economically disadvantaged Trenton community because they were able to join our Mercer Junior Rowing Program (MJRC).

Getting students to join Mercer Junior Rowing Program is an important goal of Rowing Is Growing. We want to integrate economically-disadvantaged high school students into the on-the-water rowing program at the Caspersen Rowing Center. We also want to offer help with standardized test preparation as well as other academic support.

To accomplish all of this, there are three main hurdles: the students’ lack of knowledge of the rowing opportunities; the lack of comfort around water and basic swimming skills; and lack of transportation to the Caspersen Rowing Center.

To address the first of these challenges, we have worked with teachers in specific schools in the Trenton area to introduce rowing as a part of the physical education classes in the schools.  PNRA placed 10 Concept 2 ergometers in each of three high schools in Trenton, developed a curriculum and worked with the P.E. instructors to introduce rowing.   Our goal is to both enhance the fitness of the students and get kids interested in our on the water rowing program.

In 2016, PNRA started the Trenton Central High School Indoor Rowing Team at the school using the rowing machines with the help of our Mercer Junior coaches.  The team met three days per week after school during the winter.  Practice was held in school which helped to build interest in the sport.  The athletes also got to know the Mercer coaches which helped make the transition to the boathouse less intimidating.  Of course, the students see their fitness levels improve in preparation for joining MJRC in the spring.   To address the swimming, PNRA works with the Trenton Central High School swim team coach to provide basic swim testing and water exposure to the students.

The final and biggest challenge for ROWING IS GROWING is the transportation of the Trenton students to Mercer Lake.  Their families are unable to get them to practice and public transportation is unavailable.

We are seeking corporate and foundation support for Rowing Is Growing!  Please consider partnering with us to offer these young people the unique chance to row and the benefits of becoming part of a fun, challenging community which will broaden their horizons!

For more information about this opportunity, please contact Kris Grudt, Executive Director (kgrudt@rowPNRA.org).


Special thanks to our donors:

Munich Re

New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance

Boston Properties