The Ottawa Rowing Club is home to so many amazing, motivated, selfless volunteers! We feel really lucky to know and have them in our community – we want you to know them too.

Here’s another edition of Project #ORCvolunteerlove, where we ask volunteers a series of questions. We’ll post new volunteer Q&As each week. Their answers may surprise you, make you giggle, or motivate you to live the best day ever, or to pay forward what you’ve received too.

Meet Stu McKenzie, one of our many volunteers who make the ORC go and go fast and furiously each year.

Coach Stu has been coaching since the late 1990s during his time at Brock University as a member of the Brock varsity rowing team. After his days at Brock, Stu built coaching experience with the Port Moody Rowing and Paddling Centre, Simon Fraser University, and the Brock University Varsity Women.

In 2002, Stu joined the Ottawa Rowing Club and has been involved with the senior women’s program since 2004. He became head coach of the uOttawa Varsity Women’s Program in 2005, building both competitive programs to achieve consistent success on the varsity, national, and international level.  Today, Stu is a Level III Coach with two ORC Coach of the Year Awards and the 2014 OUA Women’s Coach of the Year Achievement.

THANK YOU, STU.  Sending you so much #ORCvolunteerlove!

Q: What is your education in and what’s your day job?

A: Hons Bachelors Sport Management and Exercise Studies – Brock University
Currently a municipal worker for the City of Ottawa

Q: How long have you been a member and volunteering at the ORC?

A: Since 2002

Q: How did you first discover rowing?

A: While in high school; started rowing in 1991 at Westdale Secondary School, out of Leander Boat Club in Hamilton

Q: What do you wish other people knew about rowing and the ORC?

A: The history of the club

Q: What might someone be surprised to know about you?

A: Initially rowed to stay in shape for hockey and ”Stu” is just a nickname.

Q: You have been a coach for many years and have worked with many athletes. What is the biggest challenge you encounter when coaching?  What do you most love about coaching and that keeps you engaged?

A: Aggression and team dynamics are the biggest challenges, but can be overcome in time.
I love most seeing athletes develop and succeed; that motivation to succeed, keeps me engaged.

Q: What is a piece of advice or final few words that you’d share with an athlete/crew as they launch for a big final?

A: Reminding the rower of the sweat equity invested, their hard work and perseverance in order to be at this point…no easy strokes…enjoy the experience…and have fun.

Q: What do you most love about the ORC?  What do you love most about rowing?

A: I love the ORC location and that rowing provides an escape from daily life and good work/life balance

Q: What characteristic or mindset do you think is most important for a person to excel in rowing and to be their best? 

A: Perseverance, dedication, resiliency and fun

Q: Name someone who has had a significant influence on your coaching and/or volunteer mindset and how?

A: Past coaches; high school Joe Camillo/Steve Strba – to have fun, Leander club coach Mel Laforme – work ethic, Brock rowing coaches Joe Dowd/Winston Cook – to win

Q: What is a favourite quote that guides you day to day?

A: ”It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt (NYC Police Commissioner 1895-1897)

Q: List 3 things on your bucket list

A: Visit Montrose Scotland
Visit Vimy Ridge
Having my profile posted on the ORC Website