State of the CRUnion

“Evaluation is a process that critically examines a program. It involves collecting and analyzing information about a program's activities, characteristics, and outcomes. Its purpose is to make judgments about a program, to improve its effectiveness, and/or to inform programming decisions (Patton, 1987).”

At the end of every season, the CRU Board of Directors gathers for an extended meeting during which the concluding season is evaluated and assessed. We take into consideration what we did right, what could have been done better, and what absolutely didn’t work. On the basis of that information the following season is planned and changes meant to improve club operations are implemented.

Weighing our existing programming against the foundational pillars we built the club on we recognize that our defining principles have become diluted. Our values of inclusion and diversity have been neglected resulting in programming that has become scattershot. What we have come to realize is that we must refocus on our priorities and provide programming that holds true to our values.

To that end, we have listened to our members and our coaches and have reshaped the programming for 2019 to better reflect our values. We have chosen to model ourselves after successful high school and collegiate programs whose success stems from the culture of “One Team” and not from separate and disparate teams within a single organization.

In 2019 our programming will follow a logical flow. Newcomers to rowing will enter our organization through our Learn to Row programming. LTR graduates who would like to continue rowing will register for the Rowing Membership program and flow seamlessly into a novice season. Novice rowers will no longer be segregated into a separate program sequestered away from the rest of the team. All CRU members will practice together at the same practices. Our dedicated and professional coaches have been empowered to design practices that will lift and challenge the entire organization.

We believe that all rowers are competitive. Over the course of time, being a “competitive” rower for CRU has come to mean certain things and we have decided to actively redefine what it means.

Here at CRU, to be competitive means you are in competition with:

  • yourself to set goals.

  • your teammates to push each other to do better.

  • the erg to build strength, stamina, and speed.

  • the boat to master the seat you’re in.

  • other clubs to be accepting of our team members and by extension, all LGBTQ+ community members.

In short, we are all competitive. What differentiates us are our priorities and goals. We are dedicated to honoring the “One Team” environment that our members desire. As such, we have simplified our programming and are no longer offering different programs based on a perceived level of dedication. Programming is now goal driven.

Our first priority will be to develop the “One Team” model. Rowers who complete Learn to Row will move directly to the team and will have the opportunity to compete at Novice races. Coaches will determine lineups on a practice by practice, or regatta by regatta basis. Practice lineups will be created from the pool of available athletes who have committed to practice that day. The coaches will write lineups with an eye toward making the best boat based on what the goal of practice is. For example, if the practice is meant to focus on small technical skills then it matters less if the rowers are matched evenly in size. However, if the practice will focus on speed and power then a lineup will be written to boat rowers who are better matched in skill, size, and gender. Finally, if a practice is leading up to a regatta then lineups will be written to fine-tune those athletes who will be competing.

The coach’s selections for racing will be based on competitive commitment (which simply means making yourself available to compete; if you don’t want to compete you will not be pressured to do so), technique, strength, fitness, erg tests, speed, cooperative team spirit and the coach’s eye for “boat chemistry”, which is admittedly a completely subjective factor.

The second priority will be to continue working toward our goal of offering women-centered programming. Women looking for a competitive program that is focused on preparing and training women as the primary competitor, and not in a support role to the male rowers, have a home at CRU. As the number of women on the team continues to grow the women’s programming will continue to evolve. For women who want to compete and commit to that level of dedication, they will always be boated with women. For women interested in continuing to improve their skills and enjoyment of the sport and who enjoy rowing for fun and exercise with no (or very little) desire to compete will be boated with other women as much as possible, however, they will occasionally be boated in mixed gendered boats.