Letter from the FODR President


I am writing to bring you up to date with regard to significant recent changes to our Rowing Operations on Belle Isle. Since 1902, the Boathouse on Belle Isle had been used as the center of rowing activities and training in the region, as well as a center for community engagement. However, several months ago, the State of Michigan evaluated the building structure and has restricted our use for safety concerns. Subsequently, the State has supported our need for the construction of a NEW TRAINING FACILITY to both house our boats and allow for erg and weight training. The new facility is scheduled to be erected on the existing parking area, and we are looking to break ground in 2023. Your financial assistance is of the utmost importance in order to maintain the continuation of our rowing programs!

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2022 in Review

  • Twelve DBCC athletes competed in Junior Nationals this year, with several who competed with the US Junior National Team as part of the US High Performance Team (Rowers from Detroit Boat Club head to nationals (clickondetroit.com). Six additional athletes rowed for the US Olympic Development Program. One of our Juniors was also selected to the US Junior National Team represented the US at the 2022 CanAmMex Games winning gold in two events!
  • Colleges where our Junior Program graduates are currently rowing across the US: Naval Academy, Georgetown, Dartmouth, Grand Valley State, Michigan State, Clemson, Univ Texas, Bryn Mawr, Univ Louisville, Duquesne, Wayne State, Univ Washington, Univ Tennessee, and Bucknell.
  • Our Master Programs have continued to succeed at national/international regattas. For example, this year: Head of the Ohio (6 medals—Gold, Bronze, and 4 Silvers). Head of Schuylkill: (6 medals—Gold, Bronze, and 4 Silvers; the Women’s 8 achieved the highest place ever by our women’s crew, Silver). World Championships in Libourne, France resulted in 3 DBCC Golds.
  • Our ‘First on the Water’ Veterans Program competed at the San Diego Classic this year with financial assistance from US Rowing; the Detroit middle school STEM program has been ongoing with annual grant support; US Rowing chose Detroit as its ‘selection camp’ site for championship rowing 2nd year in a row; and our ‘Learn to Row’ classes have continued to grow at record levels!!

We Need Your Support

Yet, we are at a crisis, and we urgently need your support! In our current situation, our boats have remained subject to the elements and have incurred costly damage. For this winter’s training purposes, we are currently provided access to an unheated building on the Island. Despite this, we are scheduled to host our annual erg regatta, Motown Madness, on Saturday, February 11 (location to be announced). For over 180 years, through national and local set-backs such as fire, war, pandemic, floods, political and economic strife, the rowing programs of Detroit have never collapsed. Yet, at this time, our ability to provide the kind of programming through an appropriate facility for training and storage of equipment is severely challenged. However, I am proud to say that our Friends of Detroit Rowing Board and many junior parents, Master rowers, and friends of our organization have joined in and are working feverishly to preserve our historic and storied legacy. Please join us in this quest! In 2023, we will provide Newsletter Updates like this one to keep you informed of ongoing rowing news. Have a blessed holiday season, and a wonderful New Year! Sincerely,

Henry Goitz, MD President, Friends of Detroit Rowing

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Thank you for any tax-deductible financial assistance that you can provide:

  • Friends of Detroit Rowing tax ID# 23-7237921
  • Website donation page: https://www.detroitboatclubcrew.com/support
  • Make checks made payable to: Friends of Detroit Rowing.
  • Mail checks to: Friends of Detroit Rowing, P.O. Box 36134, Detroit, MI 48236