EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The East Grand Rapids High School varsity crew team is asking for your help. The group is currently raising money for a new boathouse. They say it’ll make a big difference in their training.
The team is coming off its 22nd season and just placed during four national races in Philadelphia in May. They’re now hoping to come back better than ever.
“If we can row in the winter and develop those bonds and know each other, then we’re going to trust each other better in a boat and row better,” said Katie Edison, a senior at East Grand Rapids High School.
“It’s our home; we start here and we end here,” said junior Evangeline Vanderark. “Being in a boat with people that you love and trust is such an amazing thing.”
Edison and Vanderark are members of the crew team. They say a new boathouse will make them stronger both on and off the water.
“It’s so much about trust, that when you’re in that boat you can’t see what’s ahead of you. We need a space here for building those bonds and having our teammates together,” said Edison.
“Couple parents got together with a great idea and found a way that we can raise the roof, so to speak,” said head coach Brian Chorney.
Chorney says the team has outgrown the current boathouse located in John Collins Park and that there’s no space to keep their rowing machines, which makes it hard to train in the winter.
The new boathouse also means they’d be able to expand the sport to the middle school level.
“It teaches them a lot of life lessons,” said Chorney. “As graceful as the sport looks, it’s a lot of hard work and it teaches them a lot of drive and effort that will take them throughout life.”
The group is looking to raise $500,000 to get the job done. These athletes hope the community supports them the way they support one another.
“We really are trying our hardest as rowers and competitors and it would be really cool to see people help and support us as a team,” said Vanderark.
“If we have a place that’s like heated and that all lined up, then we can feed off each other’s energy and work together. It’s going to be awesome,” said Edison.
The campaign runs through Oct. 31 and construction will begin during the team’s off season.
You can make a donation towards the fundraiser online.