Milwaukee Rowing Club reaches out to inner-city kids

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 14:26:27-04

The Milwaukee Rowing Club is breaking racial barriers by building a diverse team for the first time.

"It is a sport that demands hard work.  It demands teamwork.  It demands pushing yourself past what you think is possible," said Will Bott, Milwaukee Rowing Club.

There are also many misconceptions associated with the sport.

"An elitist, white, wealthy, sport... like not for city kids sport," Bott said.

The club is trying to change this perception.

"At first I really thought he said rolling and not rowing," said Jamir Richmond Williams.

"It's kind of a foreign sport.  I've never seen this before," Stevion Brookshire.

The middle school team now has eight kids from Milwaukee's Fifty-Third Street School.

"I wanted to try something new... It was getting boring staying at home all day," said Anthony Cruz.

The young athletes are hooked.

"It's fun and it's a great way to stay in shape," said Stevie Brookshire.

"I love everything about it," said Gastone Stanley.

Grant money from the Milwaukee Riverwalk District gives MPS students the chance to take swim lessons and participate in Rowing Club for free.  Urban Underground picks the kids so they don't have to worry about a ride.

"Our rowing club is breaking barriers of segregation that have been here for years and years and years and decades and centuries," Bott said.

The coach hopes what's happening on the water will flow through the entire city.

"It is such an amazing picture of what is possible," Bott said.

You can learn about the fall rowing season here.