Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association
- Advance scholastic rowing in WNY through superior coaching and facilities on the Buffalo River
- Provide unprecedented, equitable, and universal access to the sport of rowing for the Western New York community
- Practice ecological stewardship of the waterfront and local water resources on which crews rely
In managing our affairs, we place a high value on each of the following:
- Pride and Sportsmanship in competition and practice on the water and off the water
- Respect, Trust, Sensitivity and Transparency in all our relationships
- Integrity in our dealings with each other, members, partners, and affiliates
In pursuit of our mission, we will maintain rowing operations while offering affordable rates to our membership. We will seek and be responsive to mutually beneficial collaborative arrangements, alliances or partnerships with other organizations, government agencies, etc. In doing this we will seek and pursue environmentally sustainable best practices in all operations.
Background In 2010 lifelong rowers and rowing coaches from the WNY community formed the BSRA to provide increased resources and greater access to the sport of rowing for the communities of Western New York. The BSRA represents the first new rowing organization and facility in Buffalo in over 100 years. Located on the Buffalo River the BSRA facility has breathed life into the Buffalo River renaissance and excited the Old First Ward community by offering rowing programs right in the neighborhood. The BSRA is a lynchpin in the effort to increase the recreational use of the Buffalo River and strengthen efforts to rebuild the community.
BSRA is an association of high school rowing teams and community based rowing clubs with an expressed purpose to facilitate safe and equitable access to the Buffalo River for new and emerging rowing programs. The organization is a rowing cooperative requiring each member group to assume responsibility for is programs to the extent financially possible. Where there are shortfalls in assets the BSRA is positioned to maintain programs while helping to develop their organization sustainability.
Association Philosophy The BSRA has two primary goals: 1) to build strong and successful scholastic rowing teams; and 2) to expand community access to the sport of rowing. Perhaps the most innovative aspect of BSRA is the commitment to facilitating autonomous programs: each school owns their own equipment and can tailor their practice and race schedule to accommodate their individual schools’ competitive goals and programmatic needs. Through this policy approach, BSRA has successfully expanded the footprint of rowing in Western New York through revitalizing scholastic programs in the Buffalo Public Schools, supporting the continuing improvement of existing programs (Canisius High School and Buffalo Seminary), and fostering new programs (Bishop Timon-St Jude, Western New York Maritime Charter School, and Mt. Mercy Academy).
Innovative Fee Structure The primary barrier to more and successful rowing programs is cost and program infrastructure sufficient to support the complexity and expenses related to rowing. BSRA is dedicated to maintaining a fee structure that provides rowing access to school based teams at the lowest market cost.
Governance Because Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association acts as a facilitating organization, all member groups have a strong decision making role within BSRA. Each member organization has a seat on the BSRA Board of Directors. This guarantees a direct role in day-to-day rowing operations as well as charting the future of the Association. Currently, there are six member organizations – five scholastic programs and the Buffalo Masters Rowing Club.
Scholastic Rowing Teams As many as five scholastic programs are currently rowing out of the BSRA temporary boat house on Ohio Street and utilizing the Fr. Conway Park. These teams compete at local regional and National regattas during the on-water and winter training seasons.
Adult Masters Rowing Teams Adults who want to compete at regattas, recreationally enjoy the sport, or want to learn to row are welcomed by the BSRA for the example they set as life-long athletes, and, as appropriate, for the supervision and guidance they provide to youth athletes.
Community Based Rowing Programs BSRA is located in Buffalo’s historic Old First Ward neighborhood less than a half mile from the Old First Ward Community Center. Collaborating with the Old First Ward Community Center, the OFW Center and BSRA are partnering to offer OFW community members indoor rowing opportunities and training, while supporting indoor training opportunities for competitive member organizations. The BSRA offers a weekly “senior erg fitness” class for free to senior OFW members promoting safe and fun full body movement and exercise. BSRA and OFW are also working to train young coaches to teach rowing technique on indoor rowing machines as well as offering adult rowing classes and indoor competitions.
Adaptive Rowing BSRA has opened Learn-to-Row programs to participants with disabilities in order to ensure more universal access to the sport of rowing. Called “adaptive rowing”, this program allows participants of all ages with mental or physical disabilities an opportunity to learn the sport of rowing and participate either recreationally or competitively in adaptive events offered at many available regattas. With these lessons learned BSRA will expand its adaptive rowing programs.
Current Waterside Rowing Center Immediately adjacent to the Fr. Conway Park and adjacent to the new Buffalo River Fest Park, our temporary boathouse has room for 12 eights, 8 fours, and 10 small boats. At waters’ edge is 120 feet of new floating dock space allowing crews have quick access to the water. We are able to simultaneously launch 4 to 5 boats from our docks at one time allowing our coaching staff and teams great ease and efficiency in running practices in the mornings and or afternoons. The river offers many options for racing or training. The Blackwell Channel is a straight 2000-meter protected still water course that allows for three crews to train for sprint competition, or just straight training rows. The upstream Head Course provides 10,000 meters of protected, winding river that is excellent for head racing and long technical rows. The revitalized Buffalo River is bounded by wide-open shorelines mixed with historic industrial complexes.
Outdoor Off-Water Training When the Buffalo River is unusable due to water temperature or unusual weather, BSRA athletes run or perform important exercises on the grounds of the Fr. Conway Memorial Park – approximately ten acres of grassy parkland located directly across Ohio Street from the rowing facility.
Indoor Rowing Center During severe inclement weather or during the winter, BSRA athletes use the indoor training facilities of the Old First Ward Community Center 300 feet from the Fr. Conway Park. This facility contains a dedicated ergometer training room with twenty-four ergometers, a gymnasium, and locker-rest room facilities.