Case Study

Opening the Doors of Rowing to Everyone in Boston

Rowing gives people a chance to get out of the digital world and back in an analog world, where they are out on the water and enjoying each other’s company.
Bruce Smith / Executive Director, Community Rowing Inc.

Changing the world through rowing seems ambitious until you spend five minutes with Bruce Smith, the executive director of CRI. Bruce plans to make rowing accessible to everyone, and is starting by changing perceptions around rowing through telling stories.

One such stigma is that rowing is a sport exclusively for elite Ivy League athletes.

The reality is that the boathouse is a beehive of activity with people from many backgrounds including city public school students, individuals with physical and cognitive challenges as well as military veterans.

To change these attitudes, we had to tell raw stories about real people whose lives are being changed by rowing. We had to go deep rather than casting a wide net to capture the authentic experiences of Row Boston.

Our approach was simple: four programs, four videos.

Each video is tightly focused for maximum impact and lives in context on the website. When recruiting for a specific program, the video serves as a showcase tool for each program.

Not a lot of people get to like, build boats when they're 17
MLK summer scholar / Community Rowing Inc.

We immersed ourselves in each program got to know the people who make them what they are, and created a "best of" video to showcase one cohesive story on the heart of CRI.

The success of the project has led to an ongoing, collaborative partnership that is currently building a half-hour program to run on NESN this spring.

It is enormously satisfying to offer video as a megaphone to a group that is literally changing lives, including our own. In fact, we might buy a Concept 2 Ergometer for the office.

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