The Lakeland Rowing Club (LRC) in Vermilion has received three grants to contribute to the upgrade of their dock flotation system later this spring.
The $4,500 contribution will cover approximately half of the total cost.
“We’re so thankful to each the Vermilion Credit Union (VCU) who got us rolling, the Town of Vermilion, and the Vermilion Rotary Club,” said Kati White, LRC president.
“If we hadn’t been able to get the grants, we would have been under serious financial hardship.”
In August of last year the rowing club had a number of projects they were considering. Executive member, Jenny McGuinness, began the application process for the VCU’s Community Cares Campaign and completed a write-up on why they deserved the $1,000 grant. It included the service the LRC provides to the community through recreational and competitive rowing, and they were very pleased to be among several recipients last fall.
Throughout the year the club saw virtually all of their traditional fundraising gone because of Covid (they used to raise funds bartending at rodeo dances, provide service for various local community clubs and host pancake breakfasts, as well as work at casinos). They were hopeful they might get to work their casino fundraiser in November if the second wave of Covid wasn’t significant but when the Covid wave hit, they lost this fundraiser as well.
In other years members also continue to train indoors throughout the winter. In October when they were getting off the water for the season, their focus for the next year was narrowed in on improving the dock.
“The dock’s flotation system has been on our to do list for quite a few years. The current styrofoam pieces underneath needs to be replaced with large plastic cubes sealed with air. There’s a bit of a requirement we get it done, and at the same time it will extend the life of the docks,” said Peter Walsh, club coach.
Currently, the docks are in 8’ by 8’ sections all hinged together. Each currently lasts approximately 10 years, but some are up for replacement within two or three years. With the new plastic flotation system they expect the hinges will last twice as long because they won’t get banged around as much, and the life of the wood depends on the weather and the water, but should extend their life by as much as 50 per cent.
“The dock will not be any bigger, but sturdier and a lot safer,” said Walsh.
“Even though we’ve had para-rowers at our facility in Vermilion in the past, the added stability of the improved dock flotation system makes it more feasible. Now when we offer a camp, we can comfortably say we can include para athletes.”
With fundraising up in the air he said, “We got hustling and we got some serious pricing on the docks and realized it would cost anywhere from $7,000 – $10,000.”
He said they have the funds in the bank, but if they spent all of it, it would seriously affect the kind of programming they could offer so the three grants were vital to the clubs operation.
“That really helps us out – we feel quite fortunate because we are a pretty self reliant club. We try to stay within our budget, but now we can put those funds towards oars and programming,” said White.