PCAS in the News
The Wawa Foundation Hero Award
Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports is the winner of the Wawa Foundation Hero Award. This award, which takes the form of a $50,000 grant toward furthering the group’s mission, was announced at the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Celebration of Freedom.
The live award ceremony was televised and featured short videos from the 4 finalists; the 3 runners-ups each received a grant of $10,000.
The Wawa Foundation Hero Award honors a non-profit organization that is committed to serving the Philadelphia area by assisting others and building stronger communities by preserving independence, protecting safety, and educating and inspiring youth. In addition to the grant, the award provides more exposure for the organization.
The winner of the award was the organization that received the most votes from the public. The other finalists included ASAP After School Activities Partnership; Esperanza, a group designed to strengthen the Hispanic community; and Big Brothers/Big Sisters Independence. The 4 finalists were chosen from over 140 applicants from organizations in the Philadelphia area.
“We were so shocked and pleased to win this award,” said PCAS Executive Director Jeff McGinnis, who accepted the award at the ceremony. “This grant is going to help us make our programs even better, and the exposure is so helpful for our organization. We want to thank Wawa and all the people who voted for us.”
(Contributor: Irene McKnight)
PCAS Celebrates its Sponsors
At PCAS we believe it is important to serve our community at minimal or no cost to our athletes. While some of our programs have a modest participation fee, PCAS provides all the equipment, the venues, and trained volunteers and coaches. This is only possible through the support of our sponsors and donors, many of whom continue their support year after year. And we can’t thank them enough!
On Thursday evening, June 13th, PCAS hosted an event at the boathouse to meet and thank our sponsors and donors. Over 50 people gathered to celebrate our contributors, with food, drinks, conversation, and even a dragon boat excursion.
We welcomed Mark and Anne Baiada along with members of their team whose generous funding and volunteerism enable us to host the largest annual adapted rowing regatta in the country – the BAYADA Regatta – that will be held on August 17th this year.
We also enjoyed a large turnout from the Warrington Rotary Club, whose donations over the years have provided new ski equipment and new boats. Rotarians will be helping us with fencing in the area between the boathouse and the bicycle container and providing a walkway directly to the dock.
And our friends from Certa-Pro turned out to admire their handiwork, having painted the boathouse, pro bono, at the beginning of the season. Thank you Certa-Pro!
The event’s highlights included an outing on a dragon boat, captained by Peter McNamara, a PCAS Board member and rowing volunteer. PCAS also provided a fabulous meal, arranged by the PCAS MAC team. And speeches by PCAS athletes Sean Johnson, Maddie Jones, and Trent Clayton expressed the sense of gratitude of all of our members.
PCAS is profoundly grateful to these organizations that support our programs, whether or not they were able to attend the event. Thank you to all of you.
(Contributor: Meg Jones)
Adaptive Rowing: Making Waves for Almost 40 Years
Philadelphia is home to Rocky, soft pretzels, diehard sports fans, and rowing. In 1935, thousands showed up to watch a 3-mile race between two social clubs, cementing Philadelphia’s love of rowing. Today, the Schuylkill River is one of the top 10 rowing destinations in the world.
Not surprisingly, Philadelphia Adaptive Rowing (PAR) is both the oldest adapted rowing program in the world! We welcome both new athletes who have never held an oar as well as seasoned competitors. Like all PCAS programs, PAR relies heavily on volunteer support. Rowers and volunteers participate Monday through Wednesday, directed by Coordinators who oversee equipment and participant safety on the dock, boat, and water.
But Thursday nights are devoted to the PAR Development Program, which allows competitive athletes to train more frequently. Jeff McGinnis, PCAS Executive Director, says, "Our goal for the Development Program is to return PAR to a competitive standing where athletes can enter into the Paralympic development pipeline. Through 2012, PAR was the leading program in the U.S. for developing US Para-Rowing Team athletes. We are seeking to return to that stage and we're recruiting athletes, with or without rowing experience, who have the drive and skill to compete at elite levels."
To that end, PAR has secured a head coach for the program. Liz Euiler started rowing in junior high school and continued throughout her college years. She now rows on the High-Performance Team at Vesper Boat Club and will represent the U.S. at the Pan American Games this summer in Lima, Peru. Go, Liz!
Liz began coaching camps and at local clubs when she was in college and become a Head Coach in 2013. In 2016 she became an Assistant Coach for the varsity women at Philadelphia City Rowing, and she began working with PAR last year.
Liz coaches because she “enjoys sharing my love for the sport of rowing with others. The past five years working with youth rowers has been very rewarding. It is my hope that through my coaching I can give something back to the sport that has given so much to me over the past 17.”
(Contributor: Andrea Pampaloni)
PCAS People in the News
An interview with Carole McMahon
We see you every year working to make the BAYADA Regatta a success. What motivates you to work so hard at it?
Making a difference in people’s lives has kept me engaged and challenged for 38 plus years.
BAYADA introduced me to health care and I wanted those who needed help to be the best they could be and have meaningful lives. That being said, I met my husband through volunteering with Philadelphia Adaptive Rowing and getting some of our clients involved.
I love the adaptive rowing world and experienced selfless volunteers dedicate themselves to helping others become “free on the river” - leaving their wheelchairs, and other equipment, on the dock and making their ‘abilities’ shine.
My husband needed much help to row and it took a lot to get him ready to partner with his volunteer. But he was never happier than when he was on the water and hanging out with such special people. People come from all walks of life: athletes, therapists, executives, and those like him whose life changed in a second.
Joe was special to me - the love of my life. We had a wonderful marriage and he made me a better person. As do the friends I have made at PAR and other programs from all over the world.
I am inspired by those I meet each year - new friends and those I have known for years. That connection is strong not just at Regatta time but throughout the year.
Clients and employees of BAYADA Home Health Care continue to be dedicated to the Regatta and give their time and spirit in helping Mark and the BAYADA family make each Regatta successful.
I retired from BAYADA this year - but will never retire from the Regatta. I look forward to the day, the people and the spirit that is seen and felt through the athletes and volunteers!
(Contributor: Jack Campbell)
PCAS Youth Track and Field
Congratulations to the PCAS Youth Track and Field team and their success at the Richard J Cadmus Masonic Regional Meet on June 8-9 in North Brunswick NJ.
We had 11 competitors from Team PCAS, and won over 70 medals between all the kids competing. Madison Hahs won the award for top female athlete!
Independence Day Regatta
Congratulations to the PCAS rowing team, members of the Philadelphia Adaptive Rowing program (PAR), and their success at Philadelphia’s Independence Day Regatta Adapted 2x race on Sunday, June 30th.
PAR team members received 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. John Doughty and Pete McNamara came in 1st, with Maddie Jones and Jen Koch taking 2nd, and William Chernets and Michael Murphy 3rd. Oars Up!