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Volunteer Spotlight: Ellen Kahan

We recently asked one of our hard-working volunteers and long-time supporters why she supports the Row to the Future Initiative and what it means to her. Her response inspired us and we are hoping it will inspire you too.


Thanks so much for your warm sentiments, Ellen!


Pocock’s inspirational summary of rowing and life as “harmony, rhythm and balance” was illusive to me as a rower just starting out at 50. Now that I can (every once in awhile) actually have a moment when I achieve that in a stroke or two, I understand the absolute beauty of it.

Harmony, rhythm and balance are not the words that jump to mind when we think of the middle school years. And yet, I am inspired by the beauty of middle school students in the Row to the Future program.


At the Ergomania competition the teams of middle school students seemed little interested in Pocock’s words. Their approach was somewhat frenetic with form and consistency an afterthought. But the individual determination and the team spirit was Olympic worthy. The rowers weren’t a matching team. They were tall, short, cool, anxious, confident, terrified, athletic and awkward, but together they were a powerhouse.


One young man, upon finishing his erg race, entered the Cross Fit competition, a grueling exercise series that only three adults had attempted all day. While they were experienced he was not. His attempts at the challenging physical tasks were a struggle and he finished well beyond the time limit. It seemed apparent to those watching that life is often a challenge to him. He inspired all of us with the beauty of his sheer determination to succeed.


The journey to Pocock’s truths must follow this young man’s path. It is as much about the journey of persistence, tenacity and self-determination as it is about the trophies of harmony, rhythm and balance. It is this journey and the doors that it will open that drive my support for Row to the Future.

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