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Access to Crew - A Whitman Crew Initiative since 2020

Whitman Crew conducts fundraisers for both team scholarships and in partnership with a community rowing program in Baltimore called Reach High Rowing.  Reach High is focused on providing rowing opportunities for under served high school students in Baltimore.  Give economically diverse students a chance to experience the life-changing impact of crew by donating now.

What is Access to Crew?

Access to Crew is a program designed to support the sport of rowing both at Whitman and beyond in our local community.  At Whitman, it will improve recruiting and retention while strengthening our team spirit and character. 

More specifically, the program will:

  1. Provide scholarships to Whitman kids from economically diverse backgrounds.  
  2. Support the excellent work of Baltimore Community Rowing (BCR), Reach High Rowing Program, and create additional opportunities for novice events in conjunction with the Reach High Rowing program.
  3. Create opportunities for our athletes to get involved with volunteering.

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How does it work?

What we can do depends on the amount of money we raise.  We are asking for voluntary donations to meet our goal during this inaugural season of $20,000.   This is independent of the Capital Campaign, registration fees, and other fundraising events that go directly to support the assets and operations of the team.  Funds raised will be split 50/50 between Whitman Crew and Reach High Rowing, Baltimore.


If we can meet our $20,000 goal we can fund:

  • Two full-year scholarships for Whitman athletes with a demonstrated financial need.
  • Four full-year scholarships for student-athletes at Baltimore Community Rowing.

In addition we are preparing a series of cooperative events between Whitman and BCR to support their program and to provide additional travel and racing opportunities for our novice team.

Allocations of funds will commence in the fall 2020 and will be coordinated by the Whitman Crew Treasurer, President, and Access to Crew subcommittee.

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Why Baltimore Community Rowing?

Former Novice Head Coach Pat McCloskey wrote a compelling piece on why partnering with BCR will strengthen our own program while providing our athletes broader perspective on their sport.  Please take some time to read it at the link below.

About Baltimore Community Rowing

Baltimore Community Rowing Juniors offers a year-round competitive training and racing program for high school athletes and developmental program for middle school athletes. Through participation in the BCR Juniors Reach High Program athletes develop discipline, self-confidence, team work, and strong preparation for college, career, and life. 

Reach High Baltimore: Provides students from Baltimore City Public Schools the opportunity to row with BCR Juniors regardless of an athlete's economic circumstances.

Link to the website;

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Elana Shaw

"I rowed for coach Pat McCloskey's novice team in my senior year of high school. Almost four years later, I look back on that time as the highlight of my teenage years. Rowing gave me a solid community of strong role-models, built me up both physically and mentally to tackle the challenges ahead, and, most importantly, helped me figure out: 1. The power of my personal best effort and 2. How awesome life is when you are doing something that you are passionate about.

During the cold months, rowers train on machines called “ergs.” The erg calculates the power output of every stroke you take and gives you live feedback on a tiny screen inches from your face. If you take it “easy” on even a single stroke, your power score will instantly drop. The erg knows that you aren’t doing your best and isn’t shy to tell you. My time spent with the “honest erg” has taught me what my best effort looks and feels like... and what my sub-par effort looks and feels like. When I graduated high school and left for college, that self-awareness about my effort level transferred over into my academic life and kept me on track. It is comforting to know that if I do my honest best, I can always be proud of my results.

Rowing taught me invaluable life lessons ... but I almost didn't get to have that experience due to financial difficulties. I should mention that I am 5 feet and 2 inches tall. Rowers are supposed to be tall (because longer legs = longer and more powerful strokes = more speed in the water). So, when I told my parents that I wanted to row and asked them to pay the $900 fee, they thought I was being hilarious and said, "you're nuts." Fair enough (I was lucky to have babysitting money saved up). However, the idea that you shouldn't bother doing something if you can't objectively be "good" at it is dead wrong. The "performance" aspect of youth sports is a head-fake; The real value of sports that they teach young people how to work hard with others to achieve a goal. The culture of rowing is a culture of excellence: Everyone wants to do their honest best for their teammates.

Consequently, rowing pulls the best out of everyone. I had the time of my life sweating with my teammates to win races. It was AWESOME to work hard with passionate people to achieve a common goal. I will always be striving to find similar camaraderie and recreate this clarity of purpose.

I feel extremely lucky to have gotten to row for Pat McCloskey. The experience changed my life and sent me into my adulthood, feeling strong, confident, and capable. I am grateful to have been a part of Crew and believe that every teenager should have the opportunity to reap the same benefits from rowing that I did, regardless of their financial background."

--Elana Shaw, 2019

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How can I apply for a scholarship?

Please email Dave Charlton to request a Scholarship Application Form.

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How can I help?

We need parent volunteers to help with each of the three items:

  1. Help the board and coaches to socialize the scholarship opportunities at Whitman and Pyle
  2. Help Whitman Crew and BCR to create opportunities for novice events in conjunction with the Reach High Rowing Program
  3. Help create opportunities for our athletes to get involved with volunteering.

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Access to Crew Supporters

Thank you to:

  • Vicky and Peter Bross
  • The Kaufmann Koumbourlis Family
  • The Main Waxman Family

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If you have any questions about Whitman Crew's Access to Crew program, please contact Marianne Sullivan via email:

Marianne Sullivan

VP Fundraising