By Nick Patch, Champlain Longboats Director
This spring has been a spring like no other and it has impacted us all in so many ways. It is certainly not what any of us expected and we have all been challenged by this pandemic in different ways. For our Champlain Longboats rowing community, it stopped our season in its tracks. I know for myself being part of this incredible rowing community has helped me stay optimistic. Hearing words of community, hope, and positive thoughts for the future from our staff, coaches, and all our rowers has been encouraging and I thank you all for that.
In a typical rowing year, we mark the end of our youth rowing season as the finale of the Spring Wave High School Championship race event. This includes a celebration of all our graduating seniors and the annual presentation of the Bradley Cunningham Awards.
Bradley Cunningham participated and worked in youth on-water programs at the Museum for five years. He was an exception role model for young rowers, a beacon of positivity, and a passionate advocate for being on the water. Bradley tragically died in 2001 in a skiing accident at the age of 17. To honor his positive impact and commitment to this community, every year we give out the Bradley Cunningham Awards to graduating seniors in our Champlain Longboats community who exhibit these same traits as Bradley. Each award recipient receives a certificate from the Museum and a $100 check and their name is engraved on a plaque featured in the main entrance lobby of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
While this year is different from all others, it is still important to us to honor all of our rowers for the incredible effort they put in this year and to present these awards. Thanks to Museum staff and our rowing coaches, we were able to create this virtual awards ceremony that we hope captures some of the energy, passion, and caring at the core of our rowing program. The ceremony and awards were presented to our senior rowers at the end of last week and today we are honored to share this moment of celebration with our wider community. Please join us in congratulating all our seniors and wish them luck as they move forward to greater things.
Our 2020 Bradley Cunningham Award recipients:
- Aidan Palmer of the Champlain Valley Union High School rowing team
- Cat Davis of the Rice Memorial High School Rowing Team
- Maddy Menzel of the Mt. Abraham youth rowing team
Thank you all for being part of the Champlain Longboats youth rowing community. We hope your experience has been a positive in your life. If you are graduating we wish you fair winds and following seas in your future adventures. Please come back and tell us about them and of course to row. If you are not graduating please come back and join us in our next season which we all sure hope will be this coming September.