Youth Learn to Row

2022 Youth Learn to Row Dates

Saturday, April 30, 7 – 9:30 AM
Saturday, June 4, 7 – 9:30 AM

Registration for 2022 dates can be made through EventBrite. Spots for the Learn to Row Day are on a first-come, first-serve basis with priority given to those that reserve a time in advance. If you want to learn to row, the best way to get your feet wet is to join us on one of our annual youth Learn to Row Days.

After your introductory class, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for our novice program in the summer, which is the next step in joining Des Moines Rowing.

Learn to Row Day Details


A 2.5 hour session, designed to give a first taste of the sport, comprised of 60 minutes on land and 90 minutes on the water. Location: Des Moines River Meeting Place. (Map:


You’ll first learn the basics of the stroke on the erg (rowing machine), rowing terms, parts of the boat, and how to get in the boat and grip the oar. Next, you’ll go out in an eight-person boat in a mixture of new learners and experienced rowers. You’ll apply the same basics of the stroke you learned on the erg and become familiar with commands from the coxswain.


Open to youth in Grades 8-12. Youth must be able to swim 200 yards without rest.

What to Bring

Regardless of the weather, dress in layers. If you wear shorts or tights they should be form-fitting. Baggy pants may get caught in the tracks on which your seat rolls back and forth. Don’t forget your socks! Our boats are rigged with shoes that you will use while rowing so you will want a pair of socks.

In Case of Inclement Weather

The instructor will notify of a cancellation via text. Rain date for this event is May 21st.


All participants will be required to sign our waiver. (We hope to distribute this electronically ahead of the event.)

What happens after Learn to Row Day?

Graduates of the learn to row day may decide to continue on to our Youth Novice summer program. This program will include additional training with a coach, and rowing 2x week to train for races. After the novice program, you will have the option to continue by joining the Des Moines Rowing Youth Program, held at the main boathouse at Birdland Marina.


If you have any questions about our Youth Learn to Row Day, Novice Program or the Youth Program, please contact our Youth Head Coach.