OARS, the Orlando Area Rowing Society, began in 1989 with the mission of bringing the benefits of rowing to everyone in central Florida. For more than a quarter of a century, the club has been attracting – and creating – enthusiasts in this magnificent sport by organizing and sponsoring rowing activities from its base at Kelsey Boathouse on the shore of Little Lake Down in Windermere, Florida.
OARS rowers range in age from middle schoolers through high school and well into adulthood. Summer day camps and learn-to-row weekends help OARS reach out to the community both satisfy and foster local interest in rowing. Middle schoolers learn the sport in two seasons per year that involve three-times-per-week practices. High schoolers become more involved, spending most of the school year in a regimen of six-days-per-week practices. Masters teams of adults typically practice three days per week (mornings and evenings to accommodate work schedules) and may add optional land workouts as well.
Eventually, all rowers get the opportunity to get out on the water and race boats against other clubs and schools in Florida and around the nation. OARS hosts its own regatta, the OARS Invitational, every spring at Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake in Orlando. The event, covering two days, is much anticipated every year; it has become the second-largest regatta in Florida and a can’t-miss event for serious high school teams and clubs. The 2016 OARS Invitational had attendants from 31 teams across the Southeast US – approximately 1500 rowers.
The product of all of this organization and activity is fun, fitness, time in nature, a healthy discipline and deep camaraderie at all age levels. As their high school years draw to a close, many OARS rowers confirm that some of their dearest friends and their fondest memories of growing up come from their time at OARS. Quite a few of these high schoolers row in college, some for scholarships; virtually all of them apply to their entire lives the courage and discipline learned at OARS.
Some key facts about OARS:
- The club is a not-for-profit corporation run by a completely volunteer executive board.
- OARS rowers at the high school level come from virtually every school in southern Orange County, and some from beyond. That includes Dr. Phillips High School, Olympia, West Orange, Ocoee, Lake Highland Prep, Bishop Moore, The Foundation Academy, and many others.
- During the 2015-2016 Rowing Season, OARS had 5 Nationally Ranked Crews, 10 Regionally Ranked Crews, and 16 State Ranked Crews.
Orlando Area Rowing Society (OARS) is a 501(c)(3) organization. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE (800 435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. CH14363