Interview and Writing by Ellen Kahan
Undoubtedly, Raymond offered words of encouragement and support when his daughter was cut from her high school basketball team and she found herself without a sport. But what was to happen as a result of her being cut from basketball was to change the course of their entire family… Invited by her friends to go along with them to the boathouse and try rowing changed not only one young woman’s life but also that of her sister, brother, and parents. In a real sense the entire family took a seat in the boat that day.
The excitement and conviction of Raymond’s voice when talking about the experience of his three children rowing leaves no question that he views rowing as one of the very best things that has happened to his offspring. “What they learn is off the charts! I am telling you right now that both my daughters’ tenacity, their grit in overcoming challenges, and their work ethic is one hundred percent rowing,” and he witnessed that determination and attention to hard work carrying over into school and life goals as well. Raymond believes the experience of other rowers is the same: rowing is special in the way it builds determination and teamwork in youth and along the way develops the deep friendships and long term bonds shared by people overcoming challenges together.
The ability to work effectively as part of a team is a vital career skill in today’s world. After watching the development of his children and their teammates Raymond observed, “Their ability to work as a team and find that next gear of synergy… That is the amazing thing about it. You have to get everybody on the same page, timing in sync and working like crazy.” Raymond knows that sports in general can create a strong sense of team but believes that the necessity for rowers in a boat to be in absolute harmony requires something beyond the usual teamwork. After all, the team that wins may do so by hundredths of a second-- this is the type of margin that is born of a team in perfect sync.
Raymond believes that the mission of Row to the Future is invaluable. The fact that rowing has a place for everyone with no cuts or exclusions means that any student can have the life changing experience his children had. Opportunities only found in the boathouse where the environment, teamwork, and drive to achieve together give youth an undeniable step up in life. Youth involved in rowing become not only physically active but develop a pattern of healthy life choices.
Raymond is thrilled to have witnessed the growth of RttF for many years and takes pride in the support he has provided in time and financial resources. He knows that RttF insures that youth will not be denied access to rowing by lack of financial resources. He relishes selling his friends and colleagues on the program and looks forward to bringing them to the annual Benefit Breakfast where they learn first-hand the stories of youth changed by rowing.
Join us for the 11th Annual Row to the Future Benefit Breakfast on Friday, March 22nd where Raymond represents our event title sponsor, ZT Systems. ZT Systems provides purpose-built solutions helping cloud providers empower people, businesses, and communities more efficiently. Learn more about ZT Systems here!