Bainbridge Island Rowing

News from the Crews

General News   Rowing Center News   Junior Program News

Adult Program News   Development News

BIR in the Community

General News

Our Board of Directors has been busy laying the groundwork for a successful 2024! We’ve hired new staff and clarified roles, recruited new Board members, and worked diligently on communication to members about fees and financial assistance to ensure access to our programs for all. The Board met with over 40 coaches, staff, and members in January for a day-long strategic planning session to begin the process of evaluating and establishing the road ahead for BIR. 

New to our phenomenal adult coaching staff in 2024 are Ed Ives, Alec Vassiliadis, Dee McComb and Russ McComb. Mike Kalstrup has hit the ground running as our new Boatperson, responsible for repair and maintenance of our equipment. The boat bays are looking fantastic, and equipment repairs and upgrades are in the works! Mike was also recently voted Volunteer of the Year for his volunteer work during the past few seasons. Congratulations to Mike and many, many thanks to him.

We had a nice turnout for our Annual Meeting on March 13th, where BIR members received financial updates, voted on the 2024-25 slate of Board members, and watched a special presentation from Jill Bamburg unveiling our 3-year Strategic Plan. Congratulations to the newly elected Board slate, and a special warm welcome to our first time Board members.

Continuing Board members not up for re-election are Celia Clark, Kim Dalan, Melanie Edenholm, Brandon Fleet, Kris Kutchera, Stacey Nordgren, Joanie Ransom.

At the Board meeting on March 27th, the new Board of Directors elected officers and Executive Committee members for the 2024-25 board year. We are thrilled to welcome this new leadership and also extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to the outgoing Board members.

2024-2025 BIR Board of Directors Officers and Executive Committee

President – Jill Bamburg

Vice President – Kathy Kalstrup

Treasurer – Melanie Edenholm

Secretary – Stacey Nordgren

Development Officer – Jennifer Ames-Karreman

Safety Officer – Ben Drury

Past President – Kris Kutchera

Director of Rowing – Bruce Beall (BIR Staff, Non-voting)

Business Director – Lindsay Browning (BIR Staff, Non-voting)

Rowing Center News

The beautiful Stan Pocock Rowing Center has been abuzz with activity in the first few months of the year! We’ve hosted a number of BIR events, ranging from winter erg-a-thons to scholarship fund bake sales to a varsity girls team sleepover. We’ve also played host to a number of private events such as birthday parties, fundraisers, and celebrations of life. March 16th was an especially memorable and festive night, when the Bainbridge High School Band Boosters held their annual Big Band & Swing Dance fundraiser at Rowing Center. We are honored to be a place where members of our community can convene in love, celebration, and togetherness. 

Be sure to follow us on social media to see photos of venue rental activities and learn about events that are open to the public. Please keep BIR in mind for any special events you have coming up as well – we still have limited space available for summer 2024 and are beginning to book events for the holiday season. Revenue from this important line of BIR business will help us keep our programs accessible and pay off our building construction loans, and we are always grateful for your support. Your next event would be fabulous on the waterfront!

Click Here to Make a Donation to Bainbridge Island Rowing

Click Here to Reserve our Rental Venue for Your Next Event

Junior Program News

The winter season ended with a strong showing from the Junior teams in the 2nd annual charity erg-a-thon. More than 50 participants across the Novice and Varsity teams took part in BIR winter training, which coupled indoor erging with strength training at Elevate Strength & Conditioning. Others took time away from rowing to participate in wrestling, swimming, and basketball. It was great to see so many rowers using those dark days to prepare for the racing season. 

The Spring season is now in full swing! Varsity teams hit the water on February 5th, and the Novices on February 15th, and 8th Graders (Great 8’s) in mid March. Rowing remains the largest high school club sport on Bainbridge Island, with 101 participants across the boys and girls novice and varsity teams!

The junior team kicked off the season with a scrimmage versus Lakeside School on March 23rd, at home on Eagle Harbor for the varsity squads and at Lakeside for the novices. It’s going to be a busy Spring with regattas at Covered Bridge (Oregon), Brentwood (Canada), Windermere Cup (Seattle), and USRowing Regionals in Vancouver, WA. Follow us on social for photos, results, and opportunities to come out and cheer on the crews.

Adult Program News

The off-season turned out to be an ON-season this year, as the boathouse saw a considerable uptick in the number of adult rowers who opted into a regular indoor workout routine. The Adults also partnered with Elevate Strength & Conditioning for the first time, taking a page from the Juniors’ winter playbook. Everyone was well prepared for 2k time trials at the Ergapalooza in February!

Experienced rowers started their return to the water on February 17th with a wide range of new year’s goals in mind. Some Adults are already talking lineups for Husky Open and Opening Day, while others are thrilled to continue indoor workouts until the daylight and air temperature rejoin the party. Maintaining all that hard-earned winter fitness, continuous improvement, trying new things, winning races and just having fun top this crew’s list for 2024.

A fresh crop of future Adult rowers joined BIR on the ergs in January. This group will join the first Learn to Row class of 2024 in the spring and eventually graduate to the new Adult Novice Team. Learning to sweep, scull, cox and navigate all the moving pieces in the boathouse will keep this group busy and give them a confident foundation in our sport.

BIR in the Community

BIR Members have been active in the community the first few months of the year, welcoming visitors into the rowing center, promoting our programs, and raising funds for both BIR and partner nonprofit organizations. The Adult team hosted a food drive in February benefiting Helpline House and Fishline, and Varsity Girls Coach Chelsea Vessenes led an amazing BIR-wide erg-a-thon in January to benefit the Soweto Rowing Club in South Africa. BIR friends and family baked a delicious array of treats to stock a “Finish Line Refueling Station” at the annual Chilly Hilly bike ride in February, with proceeds benefiting the BIR scholarship fund. Last but not least, both the Junior and Adult teams partnered with the BI Parks & Trails Foundation, staffing work parties in February and March at Waterfront Park to support the Parks & Trails mission while raising funds for BIR scholarships and junior team regatta travel. Thanks to all who participated in these efforts – Amazing work!

Development News

New Safety Launch Arrives!

With generous grants from the Bainbridge Community Foundation, Rotary, and One Call For All, a new Stillwater launch and a new locally made Pure Watercraft electronic motor to power the launch have arrived and are being prepped for the water. We expect the launch will be fully operational by the end of March! 

Sculling Oars for Spring

Thanks to a generous grant from Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails Foundation, our scullers will have four pairs of sculling oars in April!

Donor Recognition Benches

Two beautiful hand-crafted benches with inspirational rowing quotes etched in bronze are now installed in the Stan Pocock Rowing Center restrooms. Many thanks to the talented and dedicated team who designed, produced, and installed the benches, donating countless hours of their time to make them possible: Maggie Smith, Ann Livengood, Alec Vassiliadis, and John Christiansen.

Scholarship Funding

BIR is proudly supporting 19 participants with scholarships this Spring season. We are so grateful to everyone who donated to our scholarship fund and helped us achieve our goal of making BIR programs available to anyone who wishes to row. Your support is needed and appreciated all year long, through BIR merchandise purchases and direct donations. Click here to make a donation today!

SAVE THE DATE: BIR Annual Auction & Celebration

Mark your for calendars for NOVEMBER 9th, 2024 and plan to join us for an evening of celebration and community at the Stan Pocock Rowing Center. The auction planning committee will be forming in April, and we need your help! This group has a ton of fun and makes a giant impact for our organization. Please reach out to if you’d like to volunteer!