AKR formally began in the spring of 2017. Gavin and some of his high performance athletes had been here for a year prior. AKR is now the umbrella organization for both the HP Athletes and also the Club Rowers. We are one club.
Gavin was sent to Quebec to put Quebec rowing on the map. As you all know in 2018, he and his HP Athletes fulfilled all of the hopes that Quebec Rowing had for him and his choice of Knowlton as a base.
Gabby Smith won silver in the World Cup in her event and, having won both her heats, reached the finals of the World Championships. Marilou Duvernay-Tardif came 5th in the Under 23 Worlds and 1st in the TransTasman Regatta in three events. Anna Burnotte, who coaches Club Rowers came 6th in the Under 21 Worlds. Thanks to Gavin and Karol and his crew, AKR is indeed on the world rowing map.
2018 was AKR’s first full season of Club Rowing. Nearly 60 club rowers signed up and rowed this year. The youngest is 7 and the oldest is over 70. We have tested a format for a Kids camp where we had four children under 12 and two 15 year olds as CIT’s. The coach was Tiffany Quinn. We have also tested a master’s Program with coach Marlene Royle. 10 Club Rowers graduated to be able to row on their own and most of these have been rowing in this wonderful shoulder season.
AKR is planning a winter fitness and training program for both HP and Club Rowers.
AKR has had a sound year financially as a result of this activity and growth.
The HP Athletes row from Douglass Beach and have to trailer their boats there from storage in town. The Town has allowed the HP Athletes to use the beach
The Club Rowers keep their boats at the Marina thanks to the support of Gerry and Jaimie Moar. The four club sculls are a loan from AQA. AKR owns three older boats that are rarely used. Club Rowing is made possible by the loan of these boats by AQA and by being able to use AQA’s safety boat.
AQA and AKR have an agreement that gives AKR AQA’s support in exchange for AKR’s support in working jointly to obtain the key strategic objective of the Club, a permanent Boathouse on or near Douglass Beach. More on this vital point in a minute.
The critical issue for the future of AKR is whether the club can secure the location of a site of a permanent boathouse by the end of 2018. This does not mean we have to have one built but that we have the assurance that a site is approved.
AKR has been working directly with the Mayor and the General Manager of the Town on finding ways to solve this challenging issue. We will have more to report in a month from now.
Assuming that we are successful, 2019 will be another big year for AKR. On the one track there will be a major fund raising effort and on the other AKR will expand its HP and Club Programs.
On the fund raising side, we may have some help. AQA and RCA are pitching to World Rowing that Quebec host a number of major World Class Rowing Regattas in the next 3-5 years. Such events will depend on Lakes such as ours to be the platform. If Gavin and his team can build on their success, AKR will have a central role in this plan. The Lake Towns in the Eastern Townships will have to work with each other. Our local communities will have to play a major role as well. AKR, which includes all of us in this room, will have to act as a coordinator for much of this work.
Club Rowing has a number of operational issues that it will work on this winter.
Secure and train a group of coaches for the 2019 season.
Hire a local club operations manager
Work with the Boat Club to see if AKR can use their site before the building of our own boathouse to run Masters Camps in the early summer and Fall and also to run Kid’s camps in the mid August
Create a more user friendly booking and payment system online
Secure the boats for 2019
First of all our thanks to Gerry and Jaimie Moar. We could not have had a Clue season without them. They donated the space and the launching for free and put up with us hanging around.
Thanks to TBL for their support at Douglass Beach and their work with us now to solve our most important challenge.
Thanks to our HP Rowers who put AKR on the map. Thanks to all our Club Rowers who built the base for the community here.
Thanks to AQA who loaned us the boats.
Finally, thanks to you all. AKR is totally a community. This is a working board and most of you have put in a massive amount of time and effort.
But our greatest challenge lies ahead. No boathouse no future. But I am confident. With this group, we can do this.
We can do this. Thank you.
Owen Falquero – President