By Jared Lindell
Just about everyone gets excited for summer. With the sun finally out and the warm, fresh air finally here, people flock to events and activities that will get them outdoors. This is especially true of those individuals who love to take advantage of the region’s greatest asset, Chautauqua Lake. One organization that is utilizing the Lake to its fullest is the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association.
The Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association (CLRA) was incorporated in December 2005, and, in a very short period of time, has developed a strong niche in the community. While starting small, the organization has demonstrated a great level of ambition and initiative in reaching their objectives. The goals of the CLRA are five-fold: 1) To promote the revival of the sport of rowing on the Lake for the benefit of County students, adults, and organizations; 2) To develop and operate community, youth scholastic, collegiate and adult rowing programs; 3) To support and assist the development of adaptive rowing programs for the physically and/or visually handicapped; 4) To conduct local, national, and international rowing competitions on the Lake; 5) To develop and train amateur athletes for local, national, and international rowing competitions, while assisting rowers in obtaining college scholarships in the sport.
The momentum that has been seen with the CLRA is demonstrated through increasing support and participation from the community. Since June 2006, over 100 local residents have rowed with the organization, while over 40 have joined as members. Local high school students have practiced with the CLRA, forming the first high school rowing club. The City of Jamestown agreed to share a facility at McCrea Point with the CLRA, which serves as the organization’s boathouse. Further demonstrating their success, the CLRA sent five young women to regattas in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Saratoga, New York, in 2006.
To capitalize on their current success, while creating new rowing opportunities for the local community and beyond, the CLRA will hold its First Annual Head of the Chautauqua Lake Regatta this fall. In addition, the organization hopes to further engage high school students in an effort to train these students for local, national, and international rowing competitions. In order to provide the quality equipment needed for both ventures, the CLRA approached the Community Foundation for a 2007 Community Service Grant. The grant, which they ultimately received, will help pay for expenses associated with the group’s upcoming regatta, as well as skiffs and other rowing equipment. The CLRA also expects to produce sufficient revenue from the fall regatta, to further help sustain future scholastic programs and equipment needs.
One of the key aspects of the CLRA is that, in all their efforts to turn out a great rowing program, they are dually promoting Chautauqua Lake. This works hand-in-hand with the Community Foundation’s mission of enriching the quality of life in the Chautauqua Region. As long as there are organizations working to promote this great region and all its assets, there is strong promise for the community’s future.
(For more information on the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association visit their website at www.rowchautauqua.org.)
Published in the May 20 edition of The Post-Journal