U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and GMRC/RowAmerica Hamilton have partnered to create Paralympic Sport Club (PSC) – Southwest OH.
USRowing Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Merry came to Hamilton to tour the facility and meet some of the current Para-Rowers earlier this week along with representatives from the community and the Butler County Visitors Bureau.
Paralympic Sport Club – Southwest OH is a community-based sports club developed to involve youth and adults (age 12+), including active duty service members and veterans, with physical and visual disabilities in ongoing sports and physical activity, regardless of skill level. All programs and activities are based in Hamilton OH and run by RowAmerica Hamilton. There is a scholarship fund for program participants who need financial assistance to participate thanks to a generous endowment from the Anne and Elizabeth Anderson Foundation.
“U.S. Paralympics is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals with physical and visual disabilities to be physically active in their own communities. Participation in physical activity enhances not only self-esteem and peer relationships, but also results in greater achievement, better overall health and higher quality of life,” said Mike Mushett, U.S. Paralympics Director of Community Programs. With 21 million Americans living with a physical or visual disability, including thousands of military personnel who’ve been severely injured while on active duty, this is an important community need.
In July 2014 there were twelve rowing specific PSC in the country. The addition of RowAmerica Hamilton now brings that number to twenty-eight. “We are excited that more clubs each year are dedicating themselves to support Para-rowers interested in pursuing the national pipeline to the Paralympics,” said Tom Darling, Director of Para-Rowing for USRowing. Paralympic Sport Clubs will soon be located in all 50 states in the U.S. and the network continues to grow.
This USOC distinction comes at the same time as Five Rivers MetroParks’s Dayton Regional Rowing receiving the USOC designation as a Community Olympic Development Program (COPD) and immediately following USRowing Club Nationals hosted in Cincinnati’s Harsha Lake. “It is great to have such an active rowing community in the area that is bringing such positive attention to Southwest Ohio. We are glad we can bring a high level of programming and performance opportunities to the area for adaptive athletes,” said Joy Nix, Director of Rowing for RowAmerica Hamilton.
Hamilton’s rowing center was part of the Vision 2020 plan created by the Vision Commission, which was established by Hamilton City Council, and has a long-standing history of being supported by the Vision Commission, Hamilton Community Foundation, and the City of Hamilton.