Texas Rowing For All’s mission is centered upon the enrichment and transformation of the lives of people with disabilities through the sport of rowing and paddling. Texas Rowing For All (TRFA) serves all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups in Central Texas which includes one of the largest concentrations of disabiled veterans and service members in the United States. According to the latest census, more than 1.5 million people live in the Austin metropolitan area, and 15.5 % (over 90,000 people) of the population is identified as having some form of disability.
Outdoor recreational pursuits and active sports participation is very much part of the landscape and fabric of life that Austin is well known for. The Texas Rowing For All program was created in the late Summer of 2008 as a volunteer-based grassroots initiative and in 2009 TRFA was designated as a 501 (3) ( C ) (non-profit)organization.
By helping people to overcome physical challenges in a supportive environment, we support the belief that sports, recreation and wellness are an important part of every person’s life. Unfortunately, for people experiencing a disability, involvement in sports and recreation activities though frequently desired, is seldom achieved. It has been throughly documented for many individuals (disabled or not), involvement in sports and recreation helps people to grow; to change; to achieve; and to expand one’s self in different directions. Research shows that participation in sports can help individuals with disabilities to experience not only physical activity, but heightened self-confidence, independence, a sense of accomplishment, and preparation for new challenges in life.
TRFA promotes and provides opportunities for active participation in water sports, including rowing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddling and outrigger canoeing. TRFA program provides individuals with an avenue for accessing and finding success in the pursuit of preventive health care / wellness; learning through experience; and having fun through water sports participation. Our goal is centered on the desire that participants leave with hope and a sense of purpose.
In October, 2010 Texas Rowing For All was awarded and recognized by the City of Austin Mayor’s Committee For People With Disabilities as the *2010 Distinguished Service Award*.
In April, 2009 the Texas Rowing For All organization was chosen as a Paralympic Sports Club~Austin by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) / U.S. Paralympic division. For more information on Texas Rowing For All as a US Paralympic Sports Clubs visit: http://www.usoc.org. Becoming a US Paralympic Sports Club for Austin was this a significant achievement for the City of Austin and the Texas Rowing For All organization —the designation at the time, was that TRFA as an USOC Adaptive Paralympic Sports Club for rowing was only been award to only three rowing organizations through our the United States. In May, 2010 our Executive Director spoke at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to individuals and programs wanting to start adaptive water sports programming in their city or state. Since that time, several other Paralympic Sports Clubs have initiated water sports to their adaptive sports offerings.
Texas Rowing For All partners with several community organizations in the greater Austin area to continue to offer our programming. Our number one partner is the Texas Rowing Center (TRC) based on the north shore of beautiful Lady Bird Lake in Austin. The majority of our water sports sessions & events are based out of this facility. Additionally Texas Rowing Center stores our boats & equipment and gives us access to dock space, use of TRC boats, oars & safety equipment. www.texasrowingcenter.org.
Our goal is centered on the desire that participants leave with hope and a sense of purpose. We work hard to assist, support and help people with disabilities to achieve their personal athletic water sport goals. Additionally, we will encourage and support participants s in the TRFA program to train and participate in local and national Paralympic Events. One of the subset goals of the TRFA programming is to integrate members of the adaptive rowing programs with non-disabled Texas Center Rowing members or other community rowing teams. It is anticipated that disabled rowers will increase their confidence and rowing competence in order to join other recreational and competitive (regular) teams and participation in local and national regattas.
At all of the Texas Rowing For All programs we pride ourselves in being able to meet the needs and wants of people.(disabled or not) who want to become active in water sports. Working on an one-on-one / individual basis, we will do whatever we can to help anyone wanting to participate in Texas Rowing For All programming. As a part of the athlete participation process, program staff partner with new participants to set and articulate goals and objectives; to track progress towards goal attainment and celebrate the small steps toward personal goal achievement. In this individualized and personel process each TRFA participant will be required to fill out an Athlete Information Form and a Waiver- Release TRFA prior to participation in the activity/program.
The Executive Directorof TRFA has decades of experience working with people with disabilities in a variety of settings. Our Director also possesses a very strong academic administrative background and has the responsibility for running all adaptive programming. Furthermore, the Director is responsible for activities of adaptive rowing coaching, soliciting funding, grant writing, data base development, publicity and recruitment and training of volunteers and staff.
The Adaptive Rowing Program has secured a crew of passionate and committed volunteers who enjoy working with people with disabilities in a variety of rowing settings (land and water). Volunteers have been selected for their excellent communication skills, enthusiasm and helping skills. We have tapped into the vast experience of Master rowers who are such a large and strong part of the greater Austin rowing community. We also seek out community volunteers who want to be a part of this exciting initiative! Texas Rowing Center’s Adaptive Program volunteers are the lifeblood of our program. Without these individuals, who give their time, enthusiasm and hard work, the Adaptive Program would not exist.
The centerpiece and rationale for the Texas Rowing Center’s Adaptive Rowing Program is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in rowing both on water and on-land (rowing machines / ergs). Rowing is safe and effective tool in developing the skills of teamwork , discipline, wellness, recovery and self-responsibility. Texas Rowing Center’s Adaptive Rowing Program welcomes people of various backgrounds, experiences, ages and athletic abilities.
***All donations (large or small) will help us to carry on and we can provide the IRS documentation as you donate to this non-profit organization that is making a great difference in the lives of people with disabilities and the greater Central Texas area.