Last week I joined two of my USTC Teammates at a community event at the Trenton After School Program held at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Trenton’s West Ward. The program there provides services and support for at-risk youth in the Trenton area, and most importantly a safe place to learn, play, study and socialize. David Banks, Josh Inman and I spent some time with the TASP kids last Friday along with representatives from the PNRA, Kris Grudt and Sean McCourt. During our time there, we talked about our experiences as Olympians, how we got started in rowing, and programs available to the TASP participants through the PNRA at Mercer Lake in West Windsor. The highlight of the event was the presentation of two donated Concept II ergometers to the program for children to use for physical education and to foster continued interest in the sport of rowing.
To get the kids excited about erging (yes, this is possible) we organized mini head to head races between students, coaching them in technique and pumping them up to get them to get their splits as low as possible while their classmates cheered them on. Kids aged K-8 tried out the ergs against one another, and each of the National Teamers got a crack at racing the kids too which was a lot of fun.
I had a blast spending some time with the kids in Trenton, and I’m hoping that we will continue to work together with them to maintain a relationship with our group of athletes and theirs. The enthusiasm and energy that these children had for our company and their curiosity about our lives was truly inspiring. Spending just a few minutes with them was a great reminder as to why I do what I do, and what it can mean to the communities of people that I am involved with, and whose lives I touch (and whose lives touch mine). Maybe my favorite part about working with this group was their complete and total lack of inhibition in asking us questions about ourselves and rowing. One minute I had a girl sitting next to me, beaming, elbowing her neighbor in the ribs to say “I’m sitting next to an OLYMPIAN!“, and the next I had a girl ask me completely in earnest: “Megan, why do Josh’s veins stick out like that?”
Truly an awesome event and a great Friday afternoon. Thanks to USRowing and the PNRA for giving us the opportunity to work with these kids, and thanks to the Trenton After School Program for welcoming us so warmly into their community!
Long Live the Dream,