Water often symbolizes a clean slate, a new beginning. And the people at the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Rowing Club say that's exactly what their new venture has given Springfield.
"For far too long we've kind of turned our backs to the river and the Connecticut River, is a real jewel," said Executive Director of the club, Jim Sotiropoulos.
Friday night they celebrated at their North End riverfront location after a successful first season.
Over the summer, more than 500 kids from the area learned what it meant to come together as a team out on this water.
"I see this building being used by a community now," said teacher at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy Zachary DePace.
He and his students did much of the construction work on the building.
"I thought it was great to bring students down to the riverfront and get them onto the bike path and get them out using the river," DePace said.
It gives students like twelfth grader Angel Lebreault a sense of purpose and a sense of pride.
"It feels good, because basically we're keeping kids out of trouble," Lebreault said.
Now as the club celebrates their first season together, they're already looking back on all they've accomplished so far.
"We have kids coming from completely different socioeconomic backgrounds. And when they get into a boat together, they're a team and it doesn't matter where you're from, how much money your parents make, what school you go to, it's all about teamwork," Sotiropoulos said.
Now Lebreault can't wait to become a part of the club he helped to build.
"I never knew because I would've done it. I like the water, I really do."
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