Welcome to St. Peter’s Prep Crew!
Crew is a fun and rewarding Prep experience. Like any varsity sport, it is a serious commitment for your sons. Unlike many varsity sports, Crew – particularly racing days (regattas) – are an exciting and fun experience for the whole family!
This letter was written by the Crew Parents Association (CPA) to give prospective parents an idea of what will be involved for YOU, as a parent, if your son joins the Saint Peter‘s Prep Rowing Team. Crew is a very involved sport, not only for your son, but also for you. The point is not to discourage you from joining but to try to let you know exactly what is involved before your son joins. Many a parent has spent the first season asking ‘You want me to do what?’ We are hoping that this letter takes some possible unpleasant surprises out of your first season.
This is intended to give you some background on the team and what is in store. While it may seem a lot, what we can definitely tell you is that this is a great experience for our boys and it will be a great part of their Prep Experience.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
To be blunt, Crew is an expensive sport to participate in, but we do get some funding from Prep for our team. That is why we charge rowing fees each season. While the fee is high, we know it is lower than the cost of private teams and what other schools charge. A key part of the reason the fee is relatively moderate is the significant amount of fundraising we have done (discussed later).
Ongoing expenses that are incurred by the team include the following:
Race Entry Fees – these can run $500-800 per Regatta, purchase of new equipment, repairs, and fees payable to NYRA for use of their facilities.
In addition to the per season fee, you should expect to incur some additional expenses (in $ – plus a lot of time as discussed below).
For some races, we will be far from school (Philadelphia, Camden, Saratoga) and some of these are two day events. At this time, Prep does not provide any transportation to the racing events. As such, it is often most efficient to have at least one, if not two, nights in a hotel. At times we‘ve been able to get some discounts, but also realize that at these events many other schools will be participating and staying in hotels, and the hotels will know this. As such, you should assume a few hotel nights each season with the cost around $150-200 night depending on location and what discounts we negotiate.
On race days, we ask all rowers to come with some food and/or cash donations. Most of the regattas are not convenient to local stores, nor are there typically food trucks or similar dining events. Basically, we have to bring what we need to eat (and yes the boys are hungry after a hard race). We'll cover this in greater detail below, but you should assume say $20 (+/-) per race for food.
Finally the CPA is involved in fundraising, and we are looking to have a major fundraiser each season. This requires not just time – preparing and cajoling donations – but some expense as we ask parents and their families to join. We don‘t want to just fundraise amongst ourselves, but do realize that if you join at say a Beefsteak dinner, there will be some costs.
We maintain a large email list to keep the parents/rowers informed in the past years, and this has proven to be very successful.
The website was created for the 2015 season, and we hope to use it as efficiently as we can, so appreciate there will be a learning curve for us. We've talked to some other teams who have given some good ideas. In short, please keep any eye on your email and the web page. Suggestions are welcomed and encouraged – please send to email@example.com.
Practice takes place most days after school as well as early Saturday mornings when we are not at a regatta. Practice will end in late October, start again in early March and continue until near the end of the school year. Conditioning practice takes place at Prep during the winter months.
Weather is not always known until the day of practice. Generally, practice has been on the water 4 days a week and there is a bus to transport the kids from Prep to the boathouse and return the boys to Prep. Most times, practices end around 6 to 6:30. If the team cannot get on the water, there are usually conditioning activities the boys can do at Prep including work on rowing machines and other aerobic activities. Most of the time, Coach is able to let us know the schedule for the week before say that Monday, but this is subject to change.
WILL MY SON BE IN A REGATTA?
For most of the new kids on the team, we expect this will be their first time in a boat. While from the shore it may look easy, rowing takes a lot of practice with your teammates to make sure that you can stroke properly, and coordinating with your team members. This is not just for skills, but for safety as well. Just like you didn‘t get to start first base the first time you put on a glove, it will take some practice before you will be ready to compete in a Regatta.
While your kids will get a lot of experience in practice, simply put, there is no guarantee that they will be ready to compete their first season. To be sure, over time, as they get more comfortable, and we participate in a number of races, we would expect most kids will get an opportunity to row. Also one good thing about rowing: It takes a lot of kids. For example if we row two boats of 8, that means there would be opportunities for 16 boys to join.
With hard work, we would expect everyone will be able to row competitively, which is certainly the goal of the team. But, like any sport, particularly one that is new, it will take a bit of time to get to get into full competitive shape.
Regattas are held on weekends during the Fall and Spring Season. Some races are local (on the Passaic River and Overpeck Pond) but many are also some distance away (Philadelphia, Camden and Saratoga, NY).
Most regattas involve racing literally from dawn to dusk. Some of these events attract over 50 schools and teams from across the Northeast with multiple boys and girls events. Generally it should be assumed we will be in the earliest and latest races each event. Most of the events are just one day, but some will be two days.
Before the regatta, the Coach and kids will need to prepare the boats on the trailer for the race. This is usually done the day prior often at the regularly scheduled practice time.
These are towed to the race by the coach in a St. Peter’s truck. The food trailer – with the food, tables, grills, utensils, and sometimes an erg or two – is towed to the regatta by a parent volunteer with a suitable vehicle and hitch. Thus it is appreciated and hoped we have parent volunteers who have the capacity and time to take the food trailer.
When the Regatta concludes, it is necessary for as many boys as possible to stay until the end to take apart the boats and secure them to the trailer, so you may need to stay even if your son is done with their race. If you are rowing earlier in the day it is expected you will remain after your son races until the final race to ensure that all the boats are back on the trailer.
The boats are returned to the boathouse at the end of the race and generally they are taken off during the following practice day.
In short, Regatta days are long days – you may be leaving home to arrive by 7AM and you may not be home until say 10pm.
TENTS AND FOOD
As noted above, these races are generally all day events. Further, for most of them, we are very remote from any locations to buy food, and most regattas do not have food trucks or other catering. As such, one of the logistic challenges is that we need to bring food for 60 teenage boys and their parents. In short, we need to bring a lot of food and accessories (plates, tables, grills).
Once we have the Regatta confirmed, we will circulate a sign-up sheet via email asking for food donations. We don‘t want a lot of food to go to waste, but we also don‘t want the kids to be starved before/after their race. Fortunately, after five years and careful review of the lists and food, we have a pretty good idea of how much food to get.
While the list is long, if all families participate, the cost gets shared fairly equally and the total cost per family is around $20. We have breakfast, lunch and snack food during the day. We typically have bagels, fruit, coffee, water, pasta, salad, snack bars, hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled chicken. Any help keeping the tents organized, food cooked etc. is always appreciated, though you will certainly have plenty of time to be able to go to the water and see your son and the other boys row. At this cost, it isn’t really all that much more than what you would expect to pay if you stopped for breakfast or lunch.
Crew Parents’ Association
The CPA is a 501 (c) 3 organization. The mission of the CPA is:
To maintain an association of persons interested in the St. Peter‘s Prep Crew Team, to receive and encourage gifts, endowments and bequests to support the Team, to organize events, fundraisers and other activities to support the Team and to assist said Team in purchasing equipment necessary to further the Team’s development
Our biggest need, after paying the basic operating expenses, will be to purchase new(er) boats. A boat is very expensive – a four boat, for example, can cost around $20,000 – so it is similar to the cost of a new car. The Board has created a schedule to sell and upgrade our existing fleet of boats so the boys can remain competitive on the water while we maximize the value of older boats to be upgraded.
The officers and board of the CPA are all parents just like yourselves, and we are volunteers not experts in this field. When in doubt of anything, feel free to reach out whether you see us at a Regatta, pick up or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will get back to you as soon as we can. Also we are always open to any new ideas or suggestions – for example a crew mom suggested the “Football Mania” event which ended up raising several thousand dollars for the team.