HOLYOKE — Holyoke Rows will celebrate National Learn to Row Day 2024 on Sunday, June 1 by inviting the public for learning sessions, open kayaking sessions and exploring what the boathouse has to offer.

Located at 25 Jones Ferry Rd., Holyoke Rows started in 2000 with the idea that everyone should have access to river recreation, something the Learn to Row Day event expands on as a free event to the public celebrate and to dip their toes into the activity right on the Connecticut River.

Holyoke Rows Director Stephanie Moore said excitement has built up for this year’s event and it continues their mission of making rowing accessible. Holyoke Rows, a nonprofit organization, has a contract with the city and their partnership has worked to grow access to the recreational activity in the area.

“National Learn to Row Day is just a good way to get people to think about the river and come down to it. Our goal was to make it easy and accessible,” Moore said.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. on June 1 the boathouse will open and welcome those participating in for a coffee hour. The first learn to row session will begin at 10 a.m. and will teach the basics of rowing movements on a rowing machine, then have participants row together in Holyoke Rows’ stable large rowing barge before joining master rowers and hitting the water in one of their eight-person rowing boats.

The second learn to row session will follow at 11 a.m. Open kayaking will be ongoing from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Those interested can register online, or in person day of event.

“You’re going to feel uncoordinated and it’s a new skill. We always tell people as long as you’ve experienced a little bit of success in the different parts of how to row, you don’t have to put it all together, but you need to go home and sleep and then your brain processes a lot of that information for the next time out. Something that was really difficult will be much easier,” Moore said. “Work through the feeling stupid and feeling uncoordinated for the first time and then come back.”

If those looking to try out rowing find themselves picking up the activity, Moore said Holyoke Rows has plenty of great offers to get people involved. She said they will also promote their kayak memberships and rentals during the day to those participating.

“It’s another great way for people to get their feet wet and get in the river, kayaking is pretty simple,” she said.

Moore added there are also drop-in programs most Monday and Wednesday nights where interested residents can drop in and pay $15 for lesson.

“You don’t have to pre-register, you don’t have to come again, you can come all you want so it makes it really easy for people to give rowing a try versus other places where you have to sign up for a three-week learn to row program and pay $200, it’s just a little bit more of a commitment,” Moore said.

Moore said for those interested, what is there to lose with coming out for National Learn to Row Day this year.

“The river is such a beautiful place in the summer. You’re away from the city, it’s cooler, there’s wildlife,” Moore said. “It’s just a great way, if you’re an athlete or not and whether you want to work hard or not, there is some sort of activity for you.”

tlevakis@thereminder.com | + posts