By Mark Colley
John Moore has a vision for rowing.
As a member of the Ottawa New Edinburgh rowing club, Moore saw his sport as a way to help people feel at home. That’s why he helped start a new learn-to-row program in partnership with the Ottawa Senior Pride Network.
“Rowing has the power to bring people together,” Moore told Rowing Canada. “Our aim was to introduce the 2SLGBTQQIA+ senior community to the joy and adventure of rowing.”
In honour of national Come Try Rowing day, the New Edinburgh club held introductory sessions at the end of May. The two-hour sessions allowed participants to try the sport for the first time, as well as form friendships with others. Out of the water, participants hang out at the club’s pavilion, where they can meet and share experiences.
Moore said the social aspect of rowing is just as important as the physical, and that’s why it’s such a big focus for the program.
“Community is at the heart of this program,” he said. “We wanted to create a safe and welcoming environment where participants could not only learn and grow but also feel a sense of belonging.”
The emphasis on community has paid off, added Moore. He said participants are feeling an increased sense of belonging in the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, along with increased confidence and improved fitness levels.
At New Edinburgh, emphasis is placed on safe sport practices, Moore underlined. A supportive coaching staff is in place to ensure participants feel welcome.
New Edinburgh’s effort to make space for 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in the sport of rowing has been a rewarding one, noted Moore, who has seen many participants continue to row even after the intro session.
“Seeing the joy and pride in our participants as they overcome challenges and achieve personal milestones has been incredibly rewarding,” he said.
Look back on the Ottawa Sports Pages’ 2SLGBTQQIA+ Inclusion in Sport special edition newspaper here.
This article is part of the Ottawa Sports Pages’ weekly Inclusion in Sport series. Read more about local sport inclusion initiatives at: OttawaSportsPages.ca/Ottawa-Sports-Pages-Inclusion-In-Sport-Series/.
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