“If you’re a sailor, at some point you’re going to be in a power boat,” says Van King, Senior Program Director at YMCA Camp Sea Gull in Arapahoe, NC.
Camp Sea Gull (for boys) and its counterpart, Camp Seafarer (for girls) welcome 3,000 kids each summer. Campers can participate in twelve “land” activities, and they learn sailing and safe power boating skills.
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Donations to US Sailing help to fund the Education Department which develops curriculum and oversees training courses delivered by US Sailing trained instructors across the country by both US Sailing and US Powerboating*.
At Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer, kids earn ranks as they progress through the Level 1 Sailing and Safe Powerboating curricula, from Sailor, to Skipper, to Master. The coursework is broken down into the three camper ranks so it’s more digestible for young learners. When they’re done, they’ve got training and skills that will last a lifetime. And those skills are also recognized across the country because campers have completed nationally recognized training courses from US Sailing.
“We have a strong relationship with US Sailing and US Powerboating to train our staff,” explains Van. “It has elevated our game across the board with what the campers are able to take away and with what the staff gets.”
US Sailing certified trainers go to Arapaho every summer before the camping season starts to teach the Safe Powerboat Handling Instructor Course and Level 1 Instructor Course to camp counselors.
“Many of our counselors have come up through camp themselves so they’ve already completed the Level 1 courses. Now they become certified to teach them.”
Van believes that every sailor should also understand power boat safety and he has served on several symposium panels to discuss the connection. “It’s not just about sailing,” he says. “To be a great coach, to be a great sailing instructor, sometimes you’re going to be on a power boat. You need to understand boat handling and safety.”
For the staff at Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer, working with US Sailing is an integral part of their mission to give kids the best environment and activities possible so they can grow and thrive. “It’s important to have a known and knowledgeable outside organization do the training for us, so our kids get meaningful experience,” says Van.
“If y’all went away … our skillset would go down, and the instruction would go down. Having a strong partnership and having people come down that are industry professionals that help us understand and teach at certain levels and know the techniques and the protocols and what may change and to give guidance, that’s invaluable.
“You can’t put a price tag on that.”
*Note: US Powerboating is an affiliate of US Sailing and offers the nation’s best and most comprehensive on-the-water training and education courses for recreational boaters. For more information about US Powerboating, visit www.uspowerboating.com.