What is a Regatta and why am I being asked to volunteer?

Why does Oak Ridge Rowing Association and the Atomic Boosters need volunteers?

The Oak Ridge Rowing Association is a non-profit (501c3) organization. We host and hold regattas as our primary fundraiser. We need volunteers to make our regattas successful. The proceeds from our regattas keep our programs affordable, pay the majority of our bills, help us buy and maintain all our equipment, and the race course. Without our regattas, the cost of our adult and youth programs would be significantly higher. 

First “Regattas” are what our races are called. In the spring, we do sprint races, and in the fall, we do head races.

Sprint Race - these are typically races that take place in the spring to early part of summer and are either 1000 meters or 2000 meters in length. The boats race from start to finish and either move on to the next stage or, if the race is a final, they place and medal (win bronze, silver or a gold medal).

Head Race - these are typically races that take place in the fall and are 2 - 3 miles long. The boats start using “staggered” starts, and the fastest boats in each category will medal.

This is where you, the rower, parent, brother, sister, neighbor, etc come in the regatta picture. ALL support positions are staffed by you – THE VOLUNTEER! ORRA has two full time employees - They busy year-round: planning, coordinating and coaching.  Besides these folks, the Board of Directors (volunteers too) and a couple of part time coaches (most of whom have full time jobs), the regattas are entirely VOLUNTEER planned, organized, and run.  In addition to the regattas, there are “ORRA Workdays” in the months, weeks and days leading up to regattas.  During these workdays, volunteers start getting the race course installed (we have to install and remove the course and components as our permits require – in other words, we can’t just leave the race course in all the time. Also on these workdays we do all the clean-up and prep before the regattas.

Usually one of the first regattas of the year is SIRA (Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association). ORRA “hosts” this regatta for SIRA, we provide the venue, the equipment, and the volunteers to hold the event.  A couple weeks after SIRA, ORRA holds its first regatta of the year – Dogwood. We do everything we do when we “host” a regatta for another organization and, additionally, we coordinate the referees and race registration. 

Often, one of our greatest volunteer needs is Launch Drivers.  Launch drivers, for the most part, follow each race from the start to the finish.  It’s a great way to see the races!  A referee will be in the boat with you and let you know exactly what to do and when to do it. 

If Launch Driving is not your cup of tea – there are plenty of other volunteer positions available. Most positions have “on the job training” and if they need an experienced volunteer, it will be indicated.

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one shift either!  Many two or more shifts – it’s exciting and fun, and it all goes to a good cause – your rowing club.

When reporting to volunteer, check-in at the "Volunteer Tent" setup directly in front of the boathouse.

Atomic Boosters Volunteer Info

The Boosters primary mission is to support your athletes.  Their role, during regattas (home and away), is to keep your athlete hydrated, fed and as comfortable as possible. Also, they do individual and team fundraising for special team purchases and help defray the cost of more expensive “away” regattas.

The Boosters and accompanying chaperones do a great job of this and as new rowers join Atomic, it imperative that the new parents get involved and begin learning the ins and outs of being a Booster.  The volunteer requests from the Boosters are to man the Athlete support tent present at all regattas and to do the pre and post organization/cleanup needed before and after each regatta.  Also, at our home regattas, Atomic will take the opportunity to sell drinks and easily prepared foods as a team fundraiser.  As we get closer to the home regatta days, you will see requests from the Boosters to help with this fundraiser – no experience is necessary, we do “on the job” training.

So, to sum it all up, ORRA runs on volunteers (you the reader and your family/friends…).  Please watch for volunteer sign-ups and help where and when you can.

Still have questions?  E-mail volunteer@orra.org!