« I think that this project is well designed and appreciated locally. »
Storkower Rudervereinigung 1919 e.V. is the only rowing association in Storkow, a city in a region reputed for its lakes and forests. With its 80 members, the organization has the two-pronged goal of motivating young people to engage in sports and of making them aware of their region’s natural assets.
Rowing is the perfect solution. Not only does it embrace the idea of safeguarding nature—protecting fish spawning and hatching grounds—but it educates rowers about the issues of water cleanliness, wildlife diversity and the health of the surrounding forest. Every month, the association’s program includes “nature” weekends designed for the young and not-so-young, who work together on such activities as cleaning up the land, reinforcing the banks and planting trees.
But rowing is also a team sport, a way of transmitting the values of cooperation and tolerance to young people and teaching them how to become part of a group. In addition, it is helping revive a traditional sport in the region, through the organization of regattas, which draw tourists to the city, and strengthening the participants’ ties to a region where an unemployment rate of 17% often leads the young to seek fulfillment elsewhere (sometimes in extremist groups).
Doubling the number of children rowing
The association now wants to work more closely with the city’s three schools, which have been given the go-ahead by the municipal administration to appoint an athletics teacher as a rowing monitor. Regular courses for children began at the association’s site in the summer of 2006, with a target of doubling the number of children practicing this sport while educating them about protecting nature.
Key to the project was the purchase of a new gig for four to five people; this boat, which is lighter and therefore easier to transport, would also rejuvenate the association’s fleet. Some of the money for the project comes from the amounts raised by the association’s members, the association’s own funds and support from the municipality of Storkow. The Veolia foundation is also contributing €6,000.