Youth Lightweight task force Findings
january 16th 2019
With little to no outreach to the rowing membership at large, the USRowing appointed task force on Youth Lightweight Rowing recommends terminating lightweight rowing. This finding is not made public but individual members start telling colleagues that "it is a done deal, youth lightweight rowing is over".
Members are kept completely in the dark, expecting that:
1) The findings of the task force will be made public
2) That USRowing will reach out to the membership at large for a response to the findings
3) A vote of some sort will be announced
Bias Confirmation ? We would love to know who is on this task force and what were their thoughts on youth lightweight rowing prior to the process. How many people were ardent supporters of youth lightweight rowers - advocating for their journey ?
Miami beach rowing club launches petition
May 27th 2019
Word starts to get out that USRowing intends to cancel lightweight rowing without any further discussion or input from its membership at large. In the name of lightweight rowers nationwide, athletes from Miami Beach Rowing Club launch the petition to save lightweight rowing.
Athletes from around the country and the world start posting links to the petition on social media - it takes off like wildfire and within two weeks there are 8,000 signatories.
City island rowing protest at nationals
june 7th 2019
The City Island Rowing girls' lightweight 8+ races in the reps wearing all black, rather than their signature navy white and pink uni's in protest of the intended termination of youth lightweight rowing. On their social media post they link to a manefesto and the petition, and call for other clubs to take a stand. The petition reaches 10,000.
Hours later all the attending clubs recieve an email from USRowing CEO Patrick McNerny calling for a meeting with coaches on Sunday to update them on USRowing's plans for youth lightweight rowing.
USrowing ceo meets with coaches
june 9th 2019
USRowing CEO Patrick McNerny holds a meeting following the conclusion of racing at Youth Nationals. The meeting is attended by approximately 80 people, mainly coaches - but also some athletes and parents. Mr. McNerny informs everyone that no decision has been made as yet. He then reveals that he will make the final decision, it will not go to vote of any kind. Mr McNerny further explains that alternatives could be put in place to offer opportunities to lightweight rowers like age group categories. Mr. McNerny did invite attendees, earnestly and on several occasions, to write to him regarding the matter.
During the open forum session there was a wide array of questions, statements and proposed solutions from coaches and athletes from across the country. The common theme was a passionate appeal to USRowing to at least try to fix lightweight rowing rather than cancel it. It was fascinating that the only two people who spoke against youth lightweight rowing, were members from the task force.
In conclusion Mr McNerny acknowledged that prior to the meeting he had been inclined to end youth lightweight rowing. He promised to reach out to the membership at large for input on the matter and would consider all that had come up at the meeting.
The overwhelming message from the meeting attendees was the desire to fix, not end youth lightweight rowing.
Was USRowing listening ?
USrowing update on junior lightweight rowing
june 13th 2019
In an email to the membership and posted on their website, USRowing posted an "Update on Junior Lightweight Rowing" link
The update is essentially a synopsis of the meeting, as well as two important measures.
1) To survey member organizations on the subject of Junior Lightweight Rowing
2) To publish its "multiple options for consideration" for general feedback from the membership at large in early July
USROWING sends out survey to member organizations
june 20th 2019
On June 20th, USRowing sent out a very simple survey to its member organizations. The only meaningful questions asked were:
1) Do you have a youth lightweight program
2) How many lightweights do you have on average (boys and girls counted separately)
3) What is your ltwt protocol
4) Have you ever witnessed a coach or athlete behaving irresponsibly with regard to weigh ins / lightweight rowing
5) Would you support a strict health protocol like the one used by VASRA
6) An option to comment
In this communication there was no information provided about the task force findings, nor was there an update as to when USRowing would reach out to its membership at large as promised by Mr. McNerny at the meeting. Hopefully that is forth coming.
PEtition crosses 12,500 signatories
june 26th 2019
The petition to save youth lightweight rowing surpasses the 12,500 signatory mark ! Curious if there has ever been a USRowing related issue that has ever created so much interest and grass level support - send us an email and let us know.
USRowing invites members to complete the survey
june 26th 2019
USRowing has extended the survey to the membership at large in today's email. While we are pleased at this general development, the email is not exactly easy to follow. In the message it reads:
"What is the current status of your youth lightweight program? Find out options under consideration for future USRowing Youth Championships. We want to hear from you - take the survey! "
It links only to the survey without information on the current options for future Championships under consideration. Furthermore, the survey is clearly aimed at member organizations and not really for athletes / parents. As such we are already hearing from people confused as to how to complete the survey, if they have the correct link, and if they should be filling this out.
Our advice to athletes and parents completing the survey (which we encourage) is to put n/a in the fields of which they are unsure, and to focus mainly on the general comment section.
We are grateful, nonetheless, for the opportunity for input, and look forward to the release of the proposed options being considered and for the opportunity to comment on them.
PEtition crosses 15,000 signatories
july 10th 2019
The petition to save youth lightweight rowing surpasses the 15,000 signatory mark !
What an extraordinary show of support from athletes and rowing supporters from all across the country,
WE DID IT !!!
july 31st 2019
Today USRowing CEO Patrick McNerney announced that USRowing will continue to support Youth Lightweight Rowing for the foreseeable future, under some strict guidelines and protocols. These will ensure that lightweight rowing is saved for true Natural lightweights.
A HUGE thank you for all your support. Your letters , messages, social media posts were all heard and we won!
This is also a fantastic lesson for today's youth, to FIGHT for what you believe in.
Finally a big thank you to USRowing for listening to its membership.
It is now up to everyone... athletes, coaches and club administrators to make this work !