Our two week program in Northern Italy is designed for adventurous juniors seeking a cultural and educational experience centered in the sport. We found sending athletes abroad increases their awareness, both personally and athletically. This allows them to benefit more from the program – especially when they are placed in a training environment with, and surrounded by, kind, cooperative people in a safe culture. Though our program in Italy is not as intensely focused on competition as our racing program in Holland, it is an intermediate step that takes athletes out of their comfort zone in order to accelerate their learning process.
This program is designed for rowers who want more experience in small boats, to train with foreign juniors, and to explore a new culture. Canottieri Armida, on the Po River, is an ideal location for a rower to learn more about small boats with its calm waters and minimal boat traffic. The weather in July is excellent, though it can be hot. While the program is open to all junior athletes, participants must have the maturity to handle being in a country where not everyone speaks English.
The Italian experience will not be a familiar one for many athletes, but it can be a welcome one that we believe creates an environment conducive to educational moments. Italian culture is well known around the world for its slower pace of life and greater appreciation for family, friends, and food. This calmer pace is a welcome change from some cultures, especially the US. We feel it’s important for North American juniors (and others) to experience a new way to approach the sport, and a new way to approach life.
Italian juniors tend to be more mature than their US counterparts. This is in part due to the independence given to them – they generally travel to and from school, training, and work on their own. You often see groups of Italian students hanging out in a piazza at night. We found giving participants similar freedom, in a safe environment, fosters greater independence in a shorter time frame.
Despite being a small nation with a slower pace of life, Italian juniors were still able to rack up seven medals at the Junior World Championships in Rotterdam, including three golds – more than any other country last year. Canottieri Armida also currently has the fastest junior men’s 4+ in the country.
Finally, many of the world’s national teams train and/or have training facilities in northern Italy during the summer prior to racing in the World Cup or World Championship regattas (if EU based). Turin is four hours from Lucerne, which will host a senior national team Rowing World Cup during our program – and our campers will attend.