Summer Camp is open to all 7th-12th Grade students in the Chesapeake School District
WHAT TO EXPECT
Whoa! I have no idea what we’re getting into! Hopefully, this will help you out. Most folks have no idea what crew is. Their exposure to the sport may amount to a few minutes during an Olympic broadcast at most. Or they might have seen us on the canal paddling the long canoes. Every rower on the team has started off right where you are! Here’s a little about what you can expect at camp.
Rowing is a full-body, physical sport. It involves all the major muscle groups and a good bit of mental focus. That doesn’t mean that you need to be in top physical shape, but you must be capable of physical activity. You should be a competent swimmer. While it’s unlikely that you will end up in the water, this is a water sport. You should be able to float, tread water, and swim short distances. And you should have the desire to learn something brand new. Pre-existing conditions like asthma, etc. are not disqualifiers. So long as the new rower is cleared for physical activity, you can participate!
Our boathouse is at the Atlantic Yacht Basin, 2615 Basin Rd, in Chesapeake, right near the Great Bridge drawbridge. When you come to AYB, please park on the grass along the road or on the fire road. Do not park on AYB’s paved lot. There will be a Hickory Crew tent right there and folks to guide you. We row on the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal.
On arrival at the facility, we’ll check you in, answer any lingering questions, make sure the paperwork is all in, then escort you down to the boathouse. Parents are welcome to tag along.
We’ll give you a short tour of the facilities, show you the boats, and introduce you to the tools of our sport. Then we’ll start everyone on our rowing machines, called ergometers. The ‘erg’ provides a stable platform for teaching new rowers the sequence of body movements for the rowing stroke without the worry of being in a boat that rocks from side to side. As rowing requires asynchronous motion between everyone in the boat, this is an important element to grasp. This will encompass days 1 & 2. Towards the end of day 2, we’ll put the new rowers into what we call the ‘row box’. It’s a training device that is a section from a boat that we use to teach oar handling skills.
Our goal is to start getting people on the water on day 3. We’ll be using our 8s (8 rowers in the boat), with a mixture of new rowers and our varsity team members. The remainder of your time at camp will (hopefully) be spent on the water. There’s a lot to come to grips within the boat, so we’ll start off slow with half the rowers ‘setting the boat’ (keeping it balanced) so that those rowing can get the idea of how it’s all put together on the water and rotate you frequently. As your skill and confidence grow on succeeding days, more rowers will row together.
When boats are on the water, we have coaches in motor launches out with them to coach them and ensure safety. They are in contact with the practice parents onshore and have marine radios to communicate with boaters if need be.
WHAT TO WEAR
Athletic attire. Should be snug, but not restrictive. Baggy shorts are not advised as the rower sits on a sliding seat and the short will get caught up in the wheels. The wheels always win. Same with overly long shirts. Lots of body movement, so make sure your clothing won’t get in the way. Athletic shoes. We don’t do a lot of running, but you will run down as part of your warm-up starting day 2. No sandals, no crocs, no flip-flops. Socks! Wet feet are a regular element of this sport, even if the boat is dry, the dock could be wet.
RAIN OR SHINE
We will still likely row if it’s just misting, sprinkling, or a light rain. Heavy downpours are an issue. As is lightning. If it looks like it’s just a quick passing event, we may wait it out in the boathouse. If it’s a bigger issue, we’ll likely pull the plug on that day’s activities. Regardless, we’re always watching the weather.
IN THE ELEMENTS
We are outside in the elements. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. are all advised. (The canal runs east-west. When you’re rowing to the east, the afternoon sun is full in your face.) Don’t bring expensive sunglasses as they could end up at the bottom of the canal. Bug spray if you’re susceptible.
AND PERSONAL ITEMS
Leave your phone and other valuables either in the boathouse, the car, or with a parent. Do not take them in the boat!
We’ll have some there for the first few days but bring water thereafter. Summer in Virginia, hot weather, and physical activity all lead to thirsty rowers. Proper hydration is imperative. Take it in the boat with you!
Do I have to join the team afterward?
Attending camp does not mean that you must join the team. Of course, we want you to join the team, but rowing’s not for everyone. Or maybe your just curious and want to try something new. Or maybe it just sounds like fun. Come give it a try and see where it leads you!
What if I can only attend 1 week?
That’s fine. Doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the second week. The training sequence will be pretty much the same. If you can only come one week, $100.
Do I have to go to Hickory to attend?
Nope. You can be a student at any school or home-schooled to attend our camp. So long as you’re at least a rising 7th grader and haven’t graduated high school yet, you’re eligible. If you decide to join the team, there may be some eligibility issues depending upon what school you’ll be attending.
What time is the camp?
We start promptly at 5pm and finish at 7pm. We ask that you are on time, or a little early as once we are out on the water we will not be back to the shed or dock until the end of the session and you may literally "miss the boat."
How much does it cost?
$200 for the 2-week session. If you do decide to join the team, your dues will be discounted by your camp fee.
Do I have to be there every day?
No, but rowing is a sport that responds very well to repetition. If you’re only going to miss a day or 2, not a big deal.