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May 1st, 2013

Newburgh Rowing Club receives $12,000 grant

Student Ambassadors Class of 2012, rowing in a 4+ Crew Shell at Kingston Crew Meet April 26, 2013. (L-R) in the photograph: Tito Gimenez, Kelvin Vidalis, Anthony Fiscal, Dajour ("Soup") Fisher, and Nayib Portillo (coxswain). All attend San Miguel Academy and are in 8th grade, except Nayib, who is in 7th grade. Photo: Juliana LoBiondo

NEWBURGH – Newburgh Rowing Club (NRC) Programs Director Coach Ed Kennedy has announced that the NRC received a grant in the amount of $12,000.00 from the Hudson River Improvement Fund to fund the Student Ambassador Program and for physical improvements to the NRC Boathouse.

"We are delighted to once again receive this grant from the Hudson River Foundation, this is great news for the City of Newburgh and will expand access to the Hudson River for all in the area. This also makes Newburgh a more accessible destination to kayakers, which is a great way to draw business and tourists to the City of Newburgh. Last year, we received $11,000.00 in grant money which was used to seed the Student Ambassador Program and replace docks damaged by Hurricane Irene. Now we can build on that progress and move forward in a big way. This is as much for the citizens of the City of Newburgh as it is for the sport of rowing."

"This will have a direct and lasting impact on the children of the City of Newburgh," said NRC Team Mom Juliana LoBiondo. "The Student Ambassador program is free to those accepted into it. To qualify for the Newburgh Rowing Student Ambassador Program, the applicant must be ages 10 - 17, reside in the City of Newburgh, and qualify for the free lunch program. If accepted, the Student Ambassadors are taught to swim by our coaches and student volunteers, then they are taught to row on indoor rowing machines and finally, they row on the Hudson River in crew shells. I personally spend a great deal of time with the Student Ambassadors who graduated the program 2012. They just competed in the crew meet at Kingston High School on April 26th, and will compete in several more meets this spring. Many of these wonderful youngsters attend San Miguel Academy in Newburgh and will be going on to elite boarding school and private schools after 8th grade graduation. I have been told that having rowing on their applications as a sport greatly assisted these students in their school applications. The coaches and I could not be more proud."

"The Newburgh Rowing Club is like a second home to me," said Dajour ("Soup") Fisher, an 8th grader at San Miguel Academy. "I will always come back to this place and help out. I love it."

On April 14, 2013, 13 more children graduated from the Newburgh Rowing Student Ambassador 2013 Program, by passing the rigorous U.S. Rowing Swim Test required to swim in open water.

"I love this place too," said Jorge Vasquez, a 7th grader at San Miguel Academy and recent graduate of the Student Ambassador 2013 program.

The Newburgh Rowing Club is also the licensee of the Ward Brothers Memorial Park, a City of Newburgh Park where the 6,000 square foot NRC Boathouse, built by coaches, rowers, parents, and volunteers is located. It is the only City Park which can launch crew shells and has kayak access. On May 19th, the Newburgh Rowing Club will once again host the Eastern New York State Rowing Championships, with over 1,000 people expected to attend.

In 1985, the Hudson River Foundation received $1.5 million from the State of New York to establish the Hudson River Improvement Fund from monies originally paid to New York to settle litigation concerning the out-of-state export of Hudson River water by oil tankers. Through the combined efforts of Hudson River environmental organizations, including Scenic Hudson, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (now Riverkeeper) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Improvement Fund was created to support projects that promote the enhancement of public use and enjoyment of the natural, scenic and cultural resources of the Hudson River and its shores - with an emphasis on physical projects that require capital construction, development or improvement.

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