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Meet the Champlain Longboat Boatbuilders

Meet some of the 2006 Longboats Boatbuilders
Meet the 2006 Longboat Boatbuilders.

The following quotes are from youth rowers and boat builders participating in the Champlain Longboats program, 2006.
We thought it fitting to let the youth that are involved in building and rowing share with you what this experience has meant to them.

Each one of these boats and boat building crews have a unique personality but the constant is the enthusiasm, sweat, anguish and persistence that go into building and rowing these remarkable boats. The building is just one piece of the program. The boats go on to impact hundreds of youth and adults in a positive way every year through the Champlain Longboats rowing program.


I started rowing the first fall in Middle school. I was so excited; within the first practice I had already made friends and learned skills that really did end up helping me. Rowing is a fun sport where you are able to participate without the pressure of being cut after tryouts because there are no tryouts. Rowing has always been that thing that I feel I excel at and is something that I love. I can have fun with friends, be outdoors, and have new experiences that I can share with others.

The feeling I get when I am out on the water is almost indescribable, hearing the synchronized click of the oars in the oar locks, the splash of water as the blades cut through the water, the keeping of the rhythm. I am so happy rowing , whenever I am the coxswain thinking about our course or the rower exhausting my muscles I am peaceful rowing. Being a part of a rowing has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Kara Grimes
Vergennes Union High School
March, 2006


Six consecutive seasons with the Rowing Team have allowed me to diversify my
resume in a most unique way. As I prepare for college, many of the upper-level
Universities that I am considering applying to offer crew as a main student activity.
Having experience with this activity [before entering school] is a unique and beneficial
advantage over many other college-bound high school graduates. It is a program not very many schools offer and a career opportunity many others cannot match.

Entering high school I encountered a limited selection of activities, none of which
fit my palate. Rowing, then classified as a "club" in school, seemed to offer the
qualities I wanted in an extracurricular activity. A few years later, rowing has
advanced to "Varsity Sport" status and has gained respect in the school and community.

The interest expressed by acquaintances when I tell them, "I'm on the Rowing Team" is unequaled when compared with the more "traditional" High School sports of basketball, baseball, etc.

Rowing has not only been appealing to institutions of higher learning but an
advancement of self-discipline. I feel immensely satisfied with my High School achievements, and a major part of this feeling is my work with the team. Rowing has been the necessary advancement I needed to have a positive outlook for the future.
Next year is my last year in High School, and I intend to continue with the Rowing Team.

After High School, I will continue on with the sport in college. After that, I may not row
everyday, but the techniques and disciplines learned will continue to be used infinitely
into the future.

Elias Baldwin
Vergennes Union High School
March, 2006


It takes a lot of dedication and teamwork to be part of a sport like rowing. You rely on not only yourself but the five other people rowing with you to propel the boat. Without a good sense of teamwork, the boat wouldn't move efficiently. Being a new sport to CVU, most on this team have never done anything like rowing, and they have picked it up quickly. As one of the returning members of last year's crew I have loved watching the team develop and grow and have especially enjoyed this season because everyone on the team has been supportive and encouraging to me and the other members of the team. This great sense of camaraderie really helped us do as well as we did at the races and has fostered friendships on and off the water. The rowing community is great as well. They give all of us rowers support and trust me to steer a boat. Overall, rowing is one of the best sports to participate in both as a spectator and as a rower.

Michelle Tarraciano
Champlain Valley Union High School
March, 2006


"Rowing is a very team-oriented sport that really brings the team together as a family of athletes. Rowing has brought me closer to my life long friends and has helped me grow as a person."

Erica Ladd
Champlain Valley Union High School
March, 2006


"Rowing has been a wonderful experience for many participants. Many of our team members have never been a member of a team or organization and have not had a strong extracurricular experience. Rowing is a fun, loving, active way for all students to experience a team environment which has often been called a family. Our Rowing family keeps growing, season by season, school by school, and race by race."

Emily Morton
Champlain Valley Union High School
March, 2006


For the last five years I have been rowing, I have not only learned how to be stronger, both mentally and physically, but I have also learned how to be a better person.

The races are always fun and something to look forward to. I have participated in races such as: The Icebreaker, The Snow Row, The Spring Wave, The James Wakefield Rescue Row, and The Head of the Weir.

Rowing has been very inspiring and I hope to continue with this sport throughout my college career.

“Rowing Gives Me The Edge I Need!!”

Elayne LaBombard
Vergennes Union High School
March, 2006


I originally joined rowing because a friend told me that I would like it. I wasn’t sure if I would be good at it because I had never done it before. But, I gave it a try. The very first practice I went to, I felt very comfortable with the team. The coach told me that I was a natural, so I decided to try it out for a season. By the time the first race came around, I was comfortable with the terms and techniques of rowing. Once the race starting horn wailed, I was hooked. The adrenaline and the team unity that I felt that day was amazing. I decided right there and then, that this was my sport. I wanted to row every season of every year. The camaraderie that is shared between teammates and between different teams is that of which I had never seen before. I had never heard of opposing teams interacting with such genuine kindness as I witnessed that day. I joined the rowing team because of curiosity. I stayed with the rowing team because of the tremendous team unity and extreme willingness to grow and succeed as one.
Right now I am in my third year of rowing and looking forward to many more. Rowing is a very large part of my life and without it I would be a completely different person. Rowing helped me to push myself and to strive to be stronger. To me, rowing means: fun, friendship, strength, energy and unity.

Ashley Barnes
Vergennes Union High School
March, 2006


Rowing is a very specialized sport, it takes a lot of time and commitment to the team. There are few sports that requires complete syncracy. It is a unique sport that has sense of wisdom about it. It was a powerful experience for me.

Laura Finkbeiner
Champlain Valley Union High School
March, 2006


Rowing for me, I can’t think of all the words to describe what rowing is to me and how it has helped build me into who I am today and how I have changed from a different girl two years ago. Rowing is not just a sport but it is also a way to bond and learn new things with people and it also opens our eyes to many things we have not known. It is a way to help build strong bonds with the crew and to strengthen what sometimes we don’t know we are not good at, or need to work on. Rowing for me is fun but also a challenge at the same time that keeps me and some of my friends that I know on our toes, and body working at the same time. We have our twist and turns with the crew and sometimes we don’t get along, but after a while we bond or learn to respect that person and leave them be.

Rowing hard or slow in the river, lake or ocean, we all work, as teams to row. Our goal is to show we are a team and also to have FUN. I have learned over the years with the crew and West to have fun and to open up and smile a lot and not hide it away in the shadow or in the corner. I have learned to try hard and have fun in rowing, also I have lost a lot of weight in doing so and becoming healthy again. I have made many friends in rowing and also at the contests we go, I hurt my arm a bit in practice last season but, I have kept up with the team by following them and taking pictures and cheering them on. They laugh at the tale of me following them out in the water on a boat taking pictures, you should ask them about it sometime.

We have had many kids who have come and gone from rowing, who have had their own changes and view of the sport. Some have stayed or moved on, but if you check in with the crew now you will see we have a great crew and are trying are best at having fun at the same time. I have many friends with the crew and I hang out with them in or after school and have fun. I am changed from the big hide away kid that I was two years ago, to a fun and chatter box kid who is healthy and has seen places that I have never seen before.

“Water calm and moving slow, current pushing and pulling the crew. A change in the waters of a never ending time, pulling and changing many lives.”

Rachel E Steponaitis
Vergennes Union High School
March, 2006


“Building the Northern Sun helped me learn more about different kinds of woods, different tools and how to use them and most of all to be proud of my work.”

Oren Rhodes
Diversified Occupations Program
Hannaford Career Ctr., Middlebury, VT
March, 2006


“I worked on the Eclipse. My favorite day was launch day. My favorite night was rowing across Lake Champlain and camping out. I learned I could use tools without any help. I learned working as a team is fun. Boat building gave me the confidence to get a job this year”

Kyle Griffin
Diversified Occupations Program
Hannaford Career Ctr., Middlebury ,VT
March, 2006


“The most exciting thing about building the boat was learning to do a scarf joint. I also liked the launch and the speeches. I was nervous about making the speech but I did awesome and didn't give up at all”

Carrie Wilsh
Diversified Occupations Program
Hannaford Career Ctr., Middlebury, VT
March,2006

 


Champlain Longboats, initiated at The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in 1999, is a boat building and rowing program that partners LCMM with regional schools, youth, and community organizations. Our primary goal is to offer constructive, self-affirming experiences to youth at a critical point in their lives. Through teaching the skills and teamwork needed to build and row these magnificent rowing gigs, we encourage a diverse group of students to learn responsibility and to develop respect for each other, and themselves.