Junior Sailing Program, Anyone?

Nothing like two feet of snow to focus the mind on summer and sailing. I write to update you on our progress toward bringing sailing lessons to Great Pond.

If you haven’t yet read the essay Saving Sailing, make it a spring goal. Nick Hayes lays out a convincing argument that the key to saving the sport is creating opportunities for adults and children to have meaningful interactions through the sport. What better way to do that than to bring the club, the community, and families together to launch a junior sailing program on Great Pond?

Photo Credit: Madison Opti Racing

Photo Credit: Madison Opti Racing

Barb and I have engaged in numerous strategy sessions with SailMaine and the Belgrade Center for All Seasons. We’ve sketched out a plan that would have SailMaine responsible for running and administering the program, Center for All Seasons responsible for providing a location, and GPYC responsible for raising seed money and marketing the program.

The great thing about this program is that our initial commitment consists of raising approximately $30,000. For that, we get a program that would bring six Optis and two two-week sessions serving twelve kids per year. The program is taught by professional, certified, and insured sailing instructors. After the first year, the program is largely self-funded through tuition, and all other fundraising efforts can be devoted to growing the program.

Photo Credit: Madison Opti Racing

Photo Credit: Madison Opti Racing

So, we need to raise $30,000. Assuming no one writes one check to fund this, we need volunteers to help us reach out to the community. We’ve seen what this community is capable of doing when it gets excited about something — and what could be more exciting than seeing a bunch of little sailboats bobbing around the lake?!

I expect this goal will be relatively easy to meet, as long as a few members are willing to put together materials and show up to a few meetings.

I’m not asking for someone to be “in charge” of this process (unless they want to be). What I am asking is for a few people to step up and take on a few specific tasks such as:

  • Creating materials for a fundraising appeal.
  • Working with BLA to see if we can promote the program through their channels.
  • Working with the Belgrade Center for All Seasons to promote fundraising and participation.
  • Working with local schools to build excitement and participation.
  • Writing and submitting articles to local publications.
  • Organizing a high-profile fundraising event in the spring.

I picture two to three other members who can work with Barb and me to get this done.

If we can raise the funds quickly, we can get the program started for this year; otherwise, we’re looking at a launch date for the summer of 2014.

What do you say? Wanna help?

Ben Ford
GPYC Commodore

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About Great Pond Yacht Club

Great Pond Yacht Club is for avid sailors as well as those new to the sport on Great Pond in Maine's Belgrade Lakes region. Our goal is to create and foster a culture of sailing, racing, and camaraderie on Great Pond.
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