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Cross Currents Minority Rowing Program Ends

By Staff


crosscurrentAfter ten years of growing its diversity rowing program for youth and adults, founder and director Lydia Boddie-Rice has announced that Cross Currents Minority Rowing (CCMR) will dissolve at the end of the 2016 scholastic spring rowing season, effective June 1.

Boddie-Rice launched CCMR in 2006, in order to provide minority residents with the opportunity to participate in water-related activities, focused on rowing.

According to Boddie-Rice, Rochester has an active and growing rowing community, and this signature program in upstate New York, provided minorities with the equipment, resources and training to fully participate in this non-traditional, under-represented sport.

The organization’s  mission was to diversify the sport of rowing, and to create opportunities for people of color to experience water sports, while welcoming everyone who chose to participate in the true spirit of diversity.

In addition, CCMR was also integral to the formation of America Rows, the nationwide diversity and inclusion initiative of US Rowing, aimed at increasing awareness of rowing, and introducing the sport to a diverse group of Americans.

As America Rows Rochester, the group also helped to launch the USRowing Diversity Invitational, which it held for three consecutive years, from 2011 to 2013.

Richard Butler, former USRowing Director of Diversity and Inclusion, said the youth athletes represented the physical, racial, ethnic and economically underrepresented populations who embody a low percentage of USRowing memberships.

During its ten-year history, Cross Currents fulfilled and exceeded the following goals, notably:

1) All programs, including access to exercise and training equipment, and the services of coaches and training staff, were offered on a fee-basis, reduced, or free of charge for those in need of scholarship assistance. Local, national, and state-wide partnerships were formed, which furthered the mission of fostering awareness, and increasing minority participation in the under-represented sport.

2) Members were provided with ongoing consultations with a licensed nutritionist, including blood pressure checks, and healthy weight management tools, and resources to make healthy lifestyle choices.

3) The group purchased four-person shell equipment, and transferred full ownership of eight-person shell equipment, and other essential equipment, from Genesee Waterways Center (GWC).

4) Members participated in local, regional, out-of-state, and international regattas; and

5) CCMR managed a youth program since 2011, exposing hundreds of area youth to the sport of rowing.

“Eight years ago I was given a special gift, a chance to embark on a beautiful journey, and align myself to a worthy vision,” Patricia Rozzo Leadley, CCMR head coach, and one of a handful of Latino coaches nationwide, stated. “I have seen the wonderful gift rowing imparts to my athletes. It empowers them inside and out, one stroke at a time. I tell my young rowers, ‘Rowing is a lot like the challenge of riding a horse well, and much like the challenge of mastering your life; the water is the challenge and it’s always moving and forever changing. To master it you must become one with the boat, you must learn to maintain good connections, learn to calm your mind, calm your body and focus on only one moment, one stroke, just one at a time, and if you take a bad stroke or have a bad row, as you surely will, let it go, there’s plenty more strokes, plenty more rides; there’s time enough to try your best all over again.’ It is a privilege to work with, and learn from, young athletes such as these.”

Cross Currents Minority Rowing founder Lydia Boddie-Rice also said the organization’s prior success had been due to good old-fashioned teamwork.

“Cross Currents is the paradigm for embracing a vision, and standing together to meet our mission of fostering awareness, and increasing participation by minorities in this under represented sport,” Boddie-Rice stated. “Our aim has always been to make waves and change lives, even if it is one person at a time. Many people, including myself, have reaped tremendous benefits from being associated with CCMR, but the time has come to wrap up the program, recognizing that there are still many opportunities for youth and adults in our region to participate in this excellent and fulfilling sport. It has been deeply fulfilling to champion this program, and see all our original dreams and goals come to fruition. We thank all our sponsors, rowers, parents and champions who have helped sustain the program over the years.”

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