What Parents Need to Know ....

Parents' Volunteer Requirements

Every family must contribute through support of the team's fundraisers and through volunteering for at least one activity during the season.


*** SPRING 2018 Volunteer Positions accessible through the button to Volunteer Spot ***

Volunteer Spot

Tips for Regatta Day

After five years of being "rowing parents", we learned a few things about how to survive a regatta, which we are happy to share with the novice parents. The basic advice is: plan to go early, stay all day, and bring everything you need with you. Here are the details:


Go early - Parking is at a premium at every regatta. Some regattas are notorious for filling the city's coffers with towing fees and parking fines. Find out when the boat trailer is expected to arrive, and try to arrive at least 15 to 30 minutes before then. This will usually be before 6:00 A.M. in the morning.


Plan to Stay All Day - Junior rowers are expected be available at least an hour before their race, and their races are usually spread throughout the day. Even when not racing or preparing to race, they are expected to be available to unload and rig boats, help cheer for their teammates, fill in for other injured or missing teammates in unexpected races, and help de-rig and load the trailers at the end of the day. Some clubs also require their rowers to meet back at the boathouse at the end of the day to assist in unloading the boats from the trailer and returning them to the clubhouse.


Dress Appropriately - In the northeast, you can plan for cold and rain, and you will be right 80% of the time. Dress in layers you can discard if the sun makes a surprise appearance. Some suggested clothing items: comfortable shoes which don't get wet in the rain, wool socks, tee-shirt covered by a long-sleeve shirt, covered by a sweatshirt, which is covered by a Gortex or similar waterproof jacket. Make sure you have a hat or cap of some sort which keeps the rain off your head - even a baseball style hat helps. And finally, bring a good pair of polarized sunglasses - it always seems that when the sun does appear, it is directly across from where you are watching the races.


Personal Items - Remember that there may not be a store nearby, and you might not want to give up your parking place to go search for one. The restroom facilities are usually port-a-potties. Therefore a roll of toilet paper and some tampons/sanitary napkins, sealed in a plastic bag, can be life savers when needed. 


Tools for Watching Races - You will want to keep track of your rower's races, so get a race schedule as soon as they are available (they run out at many regattas). 

Bring a yellow highlighter and a pen to mark your rower's races and make notes. You will also find that it is nearly impossible to tell which boat is which without binoculars - invest in a good set as soon as possible. Other essential supplies include a reliable camera, plenty of film, and extra camera/flash batteries.


Taking pictures - You will soon learn that pictures of crew races are disappointing. Unless you have an extra-long telephoto lens, you won't be able to tell which boat is which, even its closest point. Your best chance to take pictures is when the boats are being prepared for a race, moving the boat to the water, loading the boat in the water, and taking a "team picture" after the boat has been returned to the stretchers. Even for those shots, a telephoto lens helps considerably. An exception to the above rule is any regatta held at the University of Washington which goes through the Mountlake Cut. There are pathways on both sides of the cut for spectators to use, and the shells are only a few feet away as they race by. It’s a great place to view races and take pictures.


Socializing - Regattas are hours of boredom punctuated by a few minutes of excitement as your rower races. Most regattas have areas where teams can set up tents and supply food for their rowers. 

Find out where most of the other parents will be watching the races, and set up your folding camp chairs.. You may not be sitting in the chairs all the time, but it reserves a spot for you to call home and where you can store your gear. One of the more pleasant activities at regattas is having hours of time to talk with other parents - you will be come good friends with many of them. Visit with the parents running the food tables, and you will learn more about the rowing program works than from any other source. Bring along a book to read, just in case.


Food - Different clubs make different arrangements regarding feeding the rowers. Some have food tents and provide food for the rowers, but not the parents. Others feed everyone as long as there is food available. Some require rowers and parents to bring their own food. A few regattas have food which can be purchased, although the quality varies greatly. Regardless, plan on bringing plenty of food for both yourself and your rower. Basic picnic food is sufficient, including sandwiches and snacks. Avoid pop, milk and citrus juices - sports drinks are fine.


Rower's Clothes - Bring a bag of extra clothes for your rower. At some regatta during the season, they will be in dire need of an extra pair of socks, sweatpants, or sweatshirt. A warm blanket might also be handy.

Good Luck, and Enjoy the Regatta!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Friends of Shenendehowa Crew Club? The Friends of Shenendehowa Crew Club is a Shenendehowa School District affiliated rowing club. Club sports in the Shenendehowa School District do not receive financial aid from the school or the county. The club promotes, supports, and operates the rowing program at Shenendehowa High School. Established in 1994, Shenendehowa Crew is a growing program that annually involves about 95 student athletes per season and is recognized for its top-quality coaching staff, its dedicated athletes, and its success in local, regional, and national competitions.

Shenendehowa Crew athletes also are outstanding students who are strongly committed to academics; the discipline and time-management skills needed to become an outstanding athlete often translate into excellence in schoolwork. Our Varsity teams are consistently recognized by the NYS Rowing Association as scholar athletes.


What's rowing all about? Rowing is one of the original Olympic Sports. Rowing is an exciting, competitive sport involving skill, teamwork, strength, and endurance. The men’s and women’s teams are organized by skill. Crews are identified by the number of rowers in a shell or boat, typically eights or fours, with an on-board captain known as the coxswain. They generally race against each other on measured 1,500-meter courses. To learn more about rowing, go to www.usrowing.org.


Can I letter in crew? Yes. Shenendehowa High School does recognize the program with varsity status and thus provides Varsity Letters to qualifying crew members. Varsity Letters are awarded at the Spring Banquet to rowers and coxswains who:

  •  Have completed two seasons of rowing as a Varsity rower, and
  • Consistently participate in mandatory and non-mandatory activities such as de-rigging for a regatta, re-rigging and racking boats after a regatta, and workout sessions with the coaches at the boathouse, etc.

Do I have to be a good athlete to do crew? If you are willing to work hard and are able to pass a basic swim test, you can become a rower. Crew demands endurance, strength, discipline, skill, and teamwork. All students can develop endurance and strength through regular training. Coaches and other experienced team members teach discipline, skills, and teamwork. The crew program provides opportunities for students with a wide range of athletic abilities.


I’ve never rowed before, can I still do crew? Yes. Most students who join the team have no previous rowing experience.


Are there any height or weight requirements for rowers and coxswains? Not really. Although rowers in some boats (classed as lightweights) must be within a weight limit (typically 130 pounds for women and 155 pounds for men), there are no upper or lower weight limits for rowers in most boats. Although height can be an advantage for rowers, strength and endurance are more important. Coxswains are usually small and light. The best coxswains are smart, light, verbal, confident, and have some rowing experience.


Do I have to try out for the team? What is required to be a member? No, there are no tryouts. Shenendehowa Crew accepts all interested and motivated students. No previous rowing or athletic experience is required. All new students, however, must do the following:

  •  Pass a swim test to demonstrate that they can swim 100 meters with clothing worn over a swimsuit (e.g., loose fitting pants, NOT jeans, and a t-shirt), followed by 100 yards in swimsuit only, followed by 10 minutes of treading water.  (Personal flotation devices are not worn in the shells, so all rowers and coxswains must be good swimmers.) The club will hold swim tests at several times/locations in the fall and winter.
  • Complete all required paperwork as part of the Registration process 
  • Pay required fees.
  • Attend practices regularly.
  • Participate in mandatory club fundraising activities.


How much does it cost to participate? Per student costs depend on which team (Varsity/Novice or Modified) the rower is on and whether or not there are multiple rowers in the family. Please contact receivables@shencrewadmin for estimated tuition for your family. Payments may be made in two payments. Please refer to our Registration page for more specific figures.


Why does it cost so much? Most of the expense of crew is attributable to equipment, maintenance costs, and coaches’ salaries. An eight-person shell (boat) costs between $20,000 and $40,000. Oars cost more than $250 each, ergs more than $700, cox boxes (the voice amplification system used by coxswains) more than $500. Launches and outboard motors also are expensive. All of this equipment must be purchased, maintained and, ultimately, replaced. The club also must pay fees for boat house rental, insurance, and miscellaneous expenses. Rowers’ fees cover approximately half of the club’s total costs; rowers and their parents must raise the other half through a series of fundraising events. Remember, the club receives no financial support from Shenendehowa School District or the county.


Are there any other required/optional expenses? Yes. Each Varsity rower must purchase a uniform (a one-piece, sleeveless unitard), which costs approximately $70 and a long sleeve warm up which costs approximately $40. Each Modified and Novice rower must purchase a racing shirt ($10). Optional team apparel (sweats, shirts, hats, visors, jackets, etc.) also can be ordered at an additional cost. Rowers traveling to out-of-town 'select' regattas (Varsity-only) will be required to pay for the related travel (organized for the team by FOSC).


Must parents do anything other than pay the bills? Yes. Every family must contribute to the effort by participating in fundraising activities and volunteering for at least one volunteer activity. Volunteer activities can be found at www.volunteerspot.com


What is the schedule for crew? When does the season start? Crew can be four-season sport at Shen.

  • Fall - During the fall season (September/October), Varsity and Novice practice five weekday afternoons and on attend regattas on most Saturday mornings. Modified rowers practice five afternoons a week and attend an occasional regatta on a weekend. Practice will consist of both water and land training.
  • Winter - The winter season begins in November. Varsity and Novice practice five weekday afternoons. The modifieds practice 3 afternoons or evenings a week. These sessions enable rowers to intensify their training and conditioning. The rowers workout with weights at a local gym and also do cardio work at our winter training location.
  • Spring - The spring competitive season runs from April through mid-June), Varsity and Novice practice five weekday afternoons and on attend regattas on most Saturday mornings. Modified rowers practice five afternoons a week and attend an occasional regatta on a weekend. Practice will consist of both water and land training.
  • Summer - The summer session starts the end of June and runs through mid-August for Varsity & Novice. The practices are early in the a.m. from 6:00 am - 8:00 am. For modifieds there are two 4 week sessions available, the month of July and the month of August. The practices are from 9:00-11:00. The summer session for Varsity and Novice culminates in an exciting week long trip to the Canadian Henley held in St. Catherine's, Ontario. This trip is optional and the rowers will be responsible for all costs incurred. There is also a Learn to Row program through the Town of Clifton Park that consists of 3 week sessions. More information on this program can be found on the Town of Clifton Park's website.


Does this mean I can’t participate in any other sport at Shenendehowa High School? Absolutely not. Many rowers participate in other winter sports including downhill and cross country skiing, basketball and swimming and diving during winter seasons. Rowers who plan to participate in another sport should discuss this with their crew coaches.


Where does the team practice? During the spring and fall seasons, Shenendehowa Crew rows on the Mohawk River out of our shared boathouse with Burnt Hills Rowing in Alplaus. (For directions to our boathouse, add your address to this Google Map Link.) Transportation is provided from the middle & high schools to our boathouse. The parents are responsible for picking up their rowers at the end of practice.


How are crews (or "boats") selected? All boat selection decisions are made by the coaches. They consider many factors when making these decisions, including attitude, attendance, and consistency; racing performance and past experience; and ergometer scores. Boat assignments may change during the regatta season.


What about safety? Although crew is a water sport with some inherent dangers, safety is the club’s top priority. First and foremost, we emphasize boat safety and the proper use of all equipment. Our coaches are trained to handle emergency situations. Boats are supervised by coaches in motor launches at all times. Although rowers and coxswains do not wear personal flotation devices, coaches and anyone riding with them in the launches are required to do so, and to carry enough PFDs in the launch for the rowers they are supervising. Safety procedures are in place and periodically reviewed to continue to ensure the safety of all club members.


How will my son/daughter get to the boathouse for weekday practices? The club hires a bus to take all rowers to the boathouse after school five days a week during the spring rowing season. Some older team members drive themselves to and from school and the boathouse and they may transport other students to the boathouse. Note: Under New York State law, drivers under the age of 18 may only carry one passenger under the age of 18 (excluding siblings). Those who are age 17 and completed a driver education course do not have any restrictions on passengers. No bus is provided for the summer or winter practice. Parents are responsible for monitoring how their kids get to and from all practices and regattas 


What happens during spring break? The club still practices. Generally the rowers practice earlier in the day. The Novice/Varsity teams usually have double practice sessions. This has proven to be a very effective training tool, since it gives rowers concentrated time to row early in the season. 


It can be really cold in early spring and late fall and really hot in summer. What should my son/daughter wear to on-the-water practice? When its cold, the key word is layering. Kids should wear at least three layers: a base layer that is thin, form fitting, and will wick moisture away from the skin; a layer of insulation that is thicker than the base layer but not bulky (synthetic fleece sweats work well); and a wind block layer (which should be water-resistant but breathable). The uni or tight-fitting shorts and a tank top are the perfect first layer; a long-sleeve lycra or UnderArmor top and long tights or pants make a great second layer. Avoid cotton and down, both of which get heavy and lose their ability to insulate when they get wet. Also avoid loose-fitting sweats or basketball shorts, since they can get caught in the slides. Coxswains generally will need to dress more warmly than rowers, since they won't get warmed up exercising. Many rowers wear a stocking cap in all but the warmest weather. As rowers warm up, they can remove layers and place them in the boat by their feet. After practice, they can quickly layer up again. When the weather is hot, most rowers just wear unis or tight-fitting shorts and tank tops, but encourage your kid to bring along a tee or sweatshirt to cover up with when they cool down after practice. We strongly suggest that you or your kids label ALL their clothing-you'd be surprised what gets left at regattas and practices!


What do the kids need to take with them to the boathouse? They should always have a water bottle with them, as well as sunscreen and good running shoes for land training. A change of clothing-particularly dry socks-is also useful (even on dry days, rowers can get splashed and soaked). For after-school practices, they should bring a healthy snack to eat before going out on the water--something that will sustain their energy level, such as fruit, sandwiches, granola bars, etc.


My son's/daughter's hands are developing blisters from the oar. What should I do about this? Blisters are a hazard of rowing that affects everyone at the beginning of the season, until their hands develop protective calluses. Medical tape and/or adhesive bandages may help protect blisters until calluses form. Iodine can also be helpful (but painful) in drying out the blisters. If your rower has concerns, please have them talk to their coach.


I have a question for my kid's coach. What's the best time to ask him or her? The most convenient time to talk with a coach is at the parent forums (see the Calendar page for the schedule). Please don't try to engage coaches in a meaningful conversation during a regatta as the coaches' minds are generally preoccupied with race matters.  They probably won't remember anything you say! Coaches can always be reached by email (please see the Our Coaches page or contact information).


What's the best way for me to learn more about crew? Volunteer to help! The club relies on its parents and kids to provide a lot of volunteer labor. Look at the Volunteer Website for descriptions of the many volunteer opportunities available, which range from organizing fundraising activities to coordinating food preparation for regattas and from boat and equipment maintenance to making travel arrangements for out-of-town regattas. Call or email the board member or committee chair responsible for the type of work you're interested in-they'll be thrilled to hear from you! Many of the adults involved in leadership roles this year are the parents of seniors who will be leaving the club at the end of the year, so please start thinking now about which roles you might be interested in filling next year as well.


Sounds good! How do I sign up? Parents of interested students should attend the informational meetings as posted on our website or contact our Executive Director – Sean O'Brien -  directly (SeanObrien@shencrewadmin.com)


I still have a few questions who can answer them? Please contact the President with any questions (RobPartlow@shencrewadmin.com) or the Executive Director (SeanObrien@shencrewadmin.com).


VARSITY/NOVICE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

What exactly is the practice/training schedule? Spring and fall on-the-water practices will take place five days a week after school and (before regatta season begins) Varsity and Novice rowers will also practice on Saturdays when there are not regattas. Your Novice/Varsity son/daughter typically will be practicing either from 3 to 6:00 pm five days a week. Any changes in training/practice schedules will be announced.


What, when, and where are regattas? Regattas are organized boating competitions. Shenendehowa Crew races in local regattas on our own River and at the Saratoga Rowing Club. (For a list of when we are racing where this spring, see the Calendar page.) These local regattas generally are held on Saturdays and last most of the day. Parents are responsible for providing transportation to regattas. Regatta schedules usually are available a night or two before a race, and will be emailed as soon as possible. Coaches will notify rowers when they need to arrive on the day before the event. Coxswains usually need to arrive early for a meeting, which typically is held the morning of the regatta. Lightweight rowers also typically arrive early for weigh-ins. 


Can my child leave the regatta as soon as his/her race is over? No. After their races, rowers are responsible for getting their boats back to the trailer and de-rigging them. After that's done, it's generally considered good sportsmanship to stick around until the end of the regatta and cheer on the rest of the team. Your child's responsibilities continue even after the end of the regatta. When we race at other locations, our boats must be taken back to our boathouse and returned to the racks there In general, rowers should check in with their coach and/or coxswain before leaving the regatta site.


How does Shenendehowa Crew get its boats from the boathouse to other regatta sites? A qualified driver pulls our trailer to away sites. This means that rowers typically need to de-rig their boats and load them on the trailer at the end of their Friday practice, and will need to help set them up again before Monday’s practice. Friday practices before races and mandatory for ALL rowers.


Is there food available at the regattas, or will my kids need to bring a lunch with them every Saturday?The club sets up a "food tent" at every regatta to provide food for the rowers (and their families). Each family will be assigned to work at the “food tent” once during the season. Parents take turns buying, preparing and putting out food, cooking, keeping the area clean, and taking the tent down and packing up the trailer at the end of the day. At most regattas, there are concession stands where food can be purchased.


Is there anything else I should know about the food tent? Only that it's a great place to hang out with other parents, catch up on race results, and meet your kid at the end of the regatta!


MODIFIED SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

What exactly is the practice/training schedule? Spring and fall on-the-water practices will take place five days a week after school and (before regatta season begins) Varsity and Novice rowers will also practice on Saturdays when there are not regattas. Your Novice/Varsity son/daughter typically will be practicing from 4:00 to 6:15 pm five days a week. Any changes in training/practice schedules will be announced.


What, when, and where are regattas? Regattas are organized boating competitions. Shenendehowa Crew races in local regattas & scrimmages on our own river and at the Saratoga Rowing Club. (For a list of when we are racing where this spring, see the Calendar page). Scrimmages are generally held during the week during practice time. There are a couple of regattas each season on a Saturday (including Modified Championships) Parents are responsible for providing transportation to regattas that are held on weekends. Regatta schedules usually are available a night or two before a race, and will be emailed as soon as possible. Coaches will notify rowers when they need to arrive on the day before the event. Coxswains usually need to arrive early for a meeting, which typically is held the morning of the regatta. The dates and times for the scrimmages and championships are on our calendar webpage. When the team travels for a Saturday regatta, Friday practices are mandatory for ALL rowers. The rowers will need to derig the boats and load them onto the trailer.


Can my child leave the regatta as soon as his/her race is over? No. After their races, rowers are responsible for getting their boats back to the trailer and de-rigging them. After that's done, it's generally considered good sportsmanship to stick around until the end of the regatta and cheer on the rest of the team. Your child's responsibilities continue even after the end of the regatta. When we race at other locations, our boats must be taken back to our boathouse and returned to the racks there In general, rowers should check in with their coach and/or coxswain before leaving the regatta site.


Is it ok to miss a couple of practices a week due to other commitments? Yes. At the modified level it is okay to miss practice because of music lessons, etc.  The coach should be notified if your rower is going to be out a specific day each week.  As your rower moves up in the program, it becomes less acceptable to miss practice.