TYRA Outreach Spring Report


Spring/Summer 2021 Report

Tulsa Youth Rowing Association’s gROW Tulsa Outreach program has experienced good signs of growth in 2021 and is preparing for a busy second half. Our club rolled out after-school programs in Will Rogers, Monroe, and Hale Junior High, along with a robust in-school program at Union and a successful summer program at Monroe. We are now preparing to build on those successes in the Fall and support the Erg Ed in-school program in Tulsa Public Schools

Each after-school program was equipped with four rowing machines, iPads, and supplementary equipment to gROW Tulsa STEM programs. To be fair, we found it challenging to recruit students in the Spring with the late start and surrounding COVID challenges. The number of students that tried rowing for at least one session was as follows:

  • Hale Junior High (3 students tried the club at different times during the spring)
  • Will Rogers (3 students one of whom regularly attended).
  • Monroe: 1

In addition to these programs, we successfully rolled out a RowingSTEM program at the Union Alternative School in Union Public Schools. With TYRA’s help, Union Public Schools obtained a FlightNight grant (for $5000) from the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance to purchase new rowing machines. We supplemented this grant to purchase 6 new Concept2 rowing machines. We were informed by the principal that a total of 45 students engaged with the program.

union alternative school rowing stem program tulsa oklahoma

Mrs.Beattie, the teacher at Union Alternative stated, “We had 45 students going through the rowing program this past spring. I had maybe 6-8 students that have rowed in a boat or canoe in the past. There was a good 95% of the students that actually participated in the rowing games and at least 10-12 that were very talented in their rowing skills, partly because they had some rowing experience.” We were successful in obtaining before and after surveys from five students from the Alternative schools and one survey from a student at Monroe. We are told that this program will roll out to the entire population of the Alternative School (approximately 150 students) in the next academic year.

Click here to view the survey result averages.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZeIpJyN8Dg_umPyJHd6r9kQfSbttn9i5aa1BwL6Bwr4/ edit?usp=sharing

Our technology continues to supplement our instructional activities. We released a new STEM app for use with the Concept2 rowing machine. The app is called Erg Math and provides the opportunity for younger students to learn mathematics while getting exercise and working on their wellness. For more information on Erg Math, please visit this link:

Download Erg Math on the App Store

RowingSTEM continues to be downloaded worldwide and has been downloaded a total of 604 times since it was released in August of 2019.

Our outreach to stakeholders and potential participants also continues. We were invited to provide a presentation about our STEM programs to the USRowing DEI Committee a few weeks ago. They were impressed with all we had accomplished and look to feature our program in a panel discussion to a broader rowing audience.

In early June we ran a free adult and youth clinic at the Tulsa Rowing Club. The adult clinic was attended by approximately 10 adults who tried the sport for the first time. Our youth clinic was attended by 21 students.

youth rowing clinic tulsa outreach

Partly as a result, we ran three one-week summer camps and established a strong summer program at Monroe with the support of the Opportunity Project. We worked with the YWCA to provide free swim tests. The summer camps were a success with over 50 registrations over the four weeks of camps (we added another one due to demand).

In July we moved eight machines to Monroe Demonstration School for the Mustang Summer Camp. After four weeks of programming (activity block choices were on a weekly basis), a total of 31 different students were involved in RowingSTEM and wellness activities based on our integrated curriculum. These 31 students had a combined 52 registrations during the four weeks of programming. As you can see from the number of students and registrations, there was a core group of students who attended the activity block multiple times during the month.

We will be working hard this coming academic year to continue to work with as many students as possible on the Monroe campus (and others) to provide field trips to the University of Tulsa campus to visit the rowing facilities. Additionally, we look to migrate students to on the water activities in addition to these field trips.

Use the link below to see the curriculum used for each week at the Monroe Mustang RowingSTEM camp activity block.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aFLBnCszoI1PNNh76nGiL_zjz5tSdIIyXQkeStZcRJs/edit? usp=sharing

The students involved in the Monroe Mustang Camp are as follows:

We are in the process of collecting surveys to evaluate STEM and wellness outcomes and will update this report once we have received those results.

In addition to the Monroe students in attendance at their camp, we were actively involved in working with youth from the Tulsa Dream Center. While we were not successful in running on the water activities due to logistical challenges, we did host 9 students from the center for a 90-minute session of learn to row fundamentals, RowingSTEM and fun games. It was identified that on the water activities provided an extra level of challenge as there were concerns voiced by parents of Dream Center youth about on the water activities. We have begun to address this feedback by creating documentation and media specifically designed to achieve the following:

  1. Provide a visual for the process of learning to row so that families have a clear sense of the activities their children are going to be engaged in.
  2. Provide more information on the safety protocols we have in place to ensure that the youth in our care are safe on the water and so that parents are reassured.

To view our process and safety video in response to the above points see the video below.

As a result of this strategy, we will be actively working to progress Dream Center youth to rowing tank and eventually on the water activities this coming academic year.

Future Plans

At the Alternative School, plans are in place to expand the program and allow access to all the students at the Alternative School (approximately 150-175 students per school year). During the afternoon classes, the students will rotate through to Mrs. Beattie each week, so she can implement the program. She will also be implementing into the Anatomy and Physiology classes in the morning classes at the Alternative School. This will allow further access to students who are unable to access the program in the afternoons. We have discussed and will plan for field trips to TU to allow students to see the rowing tank and have a culminating event where we can get the Alternative Students onto the water and apply the skills they have learned. The Alternative School accepts students multiple times a year, so the opportunity for new students within Union to access the program is large and something we are excited about as we make future plans.

As a new school year approaches, we anticipate growth in our competitive, recreational, and outreach programs. Our Erg Grant (won jointly with Tulsa Public Schools) is poised to roll out with twenty rowing machines moving from school to school during the year. During this past year, the TPS athletic department has overseen the training of their physical education staff to facilitate these programs via an online learning platform. It is estimated that this program will impact over 2000 students during the year. The machines will stay at each school for two to three weeks. We will be responsible for facilitating these machines and moving them around between schools.

Given the success of our summer camps, the growth and interest in all our programs, and the anticipated interest that we will receive because of the Erg Ed outreach, we continue to seek funding to help grow our staff and provide the training and stipends to continue to develop our STEM programming. We will need funding for the following anticipated growth over the next one to two years:

  1. Supporting the Erg Ed Program such as moving equipment and maintaining the equipment.
  2. Stipends for coaches (and training) to run our recreational and STEM programs, as it is anticipated that students in Erg Ed and our STEM programs will want to try rowing on the water.
  3. Equipment to support on the water rowing for students in our outreach programs. (initially life jackets – better than we have right now allowing for more freedom movement while rowing, and flotation devices to stabilize boats)

To accommodate the increasing success of gROW Tulsa, the TYRA board is considering ways to restructure, including the development of longer-term budgets, the addition of board members dedicated to the outreach program, and new quality measurement programs.

In conclusion, the future is bright for community rowing in Tulsa over the next few years. We look forward to working with community partners to help us manage this growth.

Spring RowingSTEM Financials

March Through May 2021

Part of the 6 machine purchase not covered by Tulsa STEM Grant$524
Equipment Purchases: (heart rate monitors, iPad holders, equipment Box)$387.1


As you can see from our work in the community and continued efforts over the summer, we have begun to provide greater accessibility to the sport of rowing for BIPOC and economically disadvantaged kids. Our momentum is building, and we look forward to building the program further with your continued support.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Bergenroth

Director of Outreach and Advancement, Tulsa Youth Rowing Association