Why Row In New Zealand?
The New Zealand program may be the most special and selective experience our company offers. We find that sending athletes abroad increases their awareness both personally and athletically. This allows them to benefit more from the experience -- especially when they are placed in a training environment with and surrounded by kind, cooperative people in a safe culture. We have found the US collegiate community receptive to the toughness and independent motivation of returning athletes.
NZL Rowing: Strong Results, Stronger People
Rowing’s popularity in New Zealand is very high; it could be said kiwis are most passionate about rugby, sailing, and rowing whereas the average American is concerned with baseball, basketball, and football. Rowing’s popularity in New Zealand has produced advanced development systems for their rowing athletes and made it possible for this tiny country of only 4 million people to consistently produce a higher international medal count than even the U.S.
Hardship and appreciation go hand in hand in terms of developing athletes. The environment’s culture pushes students to achieve both athletically and personally on a daily basis while keeping them in an environment that is grounded, extremely ethical, and good-humored. This is evidenced by the level of training our NZL athletes go through paired with the community service and adventure aspects of the program that may be found on the program blog.
U.S. junior athletes who would like to improve their rowing ability (including erg score) while learning a great deal more about how to enjoy the sport and who they are as people are encouraged to apply to this program.
Developing More Thoughtful Athletes
Students rowing in New Zealand usually go overseas for 5 weeks, during which there are multiple opportunities to take advantage of the stunning New Zealand scenery. Students will also be asked to participate in community service such as teaching Special Olympians how to row as the camp reaches beyond rowing in its spectrum of development and works to give athletes perspective on their own lives.
New Zealand is designed more as a ‘program’ than a kids’ ‘rowing camp’, and may allow athletes to row with some of New Zealand’s best and with other rowers from the U.S. and around the world. Plus, weekend opportunities to explore and travel in New Zealand are unparalleled. It does not offer an opportunity to race at Club Nationals, but instead will provide a safe environment with some of the best resources in the world for building and asserting athletic and personal identity in the sport. As one former NZL athlete put it: “It is not so much a camp, but a program that has taught me who I am as a rowing athlete and in some ways, a person. Given what’s required, it’s like racing everyday.. or maybe harder than that.”
And since June and July are summer in the US, it will be ‘winter’ in New Zealand. Conditions are highly variable in Dunedin.
The ultimate goal of the program is to provide American junior athletes with the opportunity to rise above and beyond even what they thought they were capable of.