This school year, the Erg Ed program will run in over 44 schools across the country, almost double the schools of two years ago. The two newest school districts for Erg Ed, Chicago and Portland, were awarded Erg Ed grants this summer and began teacher training this month. Both of these public school districts are now ready to welcome hundreds of new students to the ergometer. (Read the Chicago and Portland press releases.)
At its core, Erg Ed expansion is more than organizations and schools combining forces to further enhance physical education, it is about strengthening communities and giving youth another pathway to health, fitness, and development. No person experiences this personal side of Erg Ed quite like Aubrey Fitzpatrick, our Erg Ed Program Coordinator.
Aubrey has logged somewhere around 13,348 air miles as she flies to cities across the country to train teachers and launch Erg Ed. Amidst those miles, she has trained over 35 PE teachers. In just her two and a half years at the Pocock Foundation, she has seen the program grow immensely. “It’s pretty remarkable: I started when Erg Ed had been successfully running in Seattle for four years and in the last two years, with the support of USRowing, we’ve seen Erg Ed grow to the national level,” Aubrey said.
While she was in Portland, Aubrey trained a team of five PE teachers from the school district and met with coaches from the local community rowing program, Rose City Rowing. “They asked great questions about how their students could get involved in rowing. And, they really wanted to help students translate the skills from the PE classroom to the community,” Aubrey commented about the Portland teachers.
In Chicago, Aubrey worked with five more PE teachers from Chicago Public Schools at the Chicago Training Center, a new boathouse funded by the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago. None of the Chicago PE teachers had been on an ergometer before this training session. Aubrey was impressed by their gusto as they “just jumped right in without hesitation.”
When Aubrey asks PE teachers what excites them most about Erg Ed she shares, “The resounding response is the ability to introduce their students to something new – something students likely would not have been exposed to otherwise.” Now, through Erg Ed, young people have the chance to experience sport in a completely different way right in their school gymnasium. This doesn’t just change the sport of rowing, but more importantly, it can change the lives of many youth as they grow and learn in sports. Stay tuned to us as we share stories of youth from all our Erg Ed cities!
USRowing and the George Pocock Rowing Foundation formed a partnership in 2015 to bring indoor rowing education into middle schools across the nation. Erg Ed now runs in four different cities through USRowing partnership: Memphis, TN; Portland, OR; Allentown, PA; and Chicago, IL.