BRISTOL, R.I. (May 24, 2023) – Sailing centers throughout the country have been awarded grants to grow youth sailing through STEM and environmental education with the US Sailing Reach Initiative. The Reach Initiative grants provide non-profit sailing centers with funds and resources to further their Reach program goals and increase STEM opportunities for students in their community.
The Reach Initiative utilizes sailing as an educational platform that challenges youth to embrace education, establish a love of learning, and explore productive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) based careers. Combining educators, sailing instructors, engineers, and scientists with today’s youth, the Reach Initiative provides a one-of-a-kind, authentic learning experience where students can apply classroom learning in a cooperative work environment.
The following programs were selected for 2023 US Sailing Reach Youth Engagement grants. These grants were made possible by support from Rolex and US Sailing donors. Congratulations to the 2023 recipients!
Community Boating Center (Bellingham, WA)
The Community Boating Center’s mission is to foster small watercraft education and access, safe recreation, and marine stewardship on Bellingham Bay. They offer a variety of learn to sail programs, boat rentals, custom experiences, and paddling. This year they will continue to implement the Reach modules, by integrating them into the youth camps, a teen STEM program with Nooksack Tribe, and a field trip series for middle schoolers focused on watershed health.
Community Sailing New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
Community Sailing New Orleans (CSNO) impacts lives by providing accessible educational opportunities and the promotion of health on Lake Pontchartrain for all in the population of the region regardless of age, background, and abilities in metro New Orleans by providing access to a community asset that has been historically inaccessible to those large segments of the population. CSNO implements STEM education in all its youth sailing curriculum, including a free-of-charge, nine-week-long course in the spring and fall semesters dedicated to exploring the engineering and design of sailing vessels for local middle schoolers.
Edison Sailing Center (Fort Myers, FL)
Edison Sailing Center is celebrating four decades of safe boating instruction and leadership development to more than 17,000 area youth, many of whom come from underserved communities for which the introduction of STEM through sailing not only provides life skills but also enriches math & science knowledge in an inquiry-based environment. Through summer sessions, classroom visitations, community outreach events, and dedicated after-school partnerships, Edison Sailing Center is poised to engage another generation in hands-on learning and bring the classroom “outside” for authentic experiences that often lead to future careers. Although we lost significant infrastructure during the recent hurricane that included the destruction of our portable marine classroom, as an offshoot of our Reach grant we plan to create “STEM in a SailBag” kits to take into classrooms.
Rocking the Boat (Bronx, NY)
Rocking the Boat’s Sailing Program is a daily, year-round program in the South Bronx, free and open to any local high school student. The curriculum progresses from novice to certified instructors during approximately four years of high school. New students rig the boats, identify wind direction, practice sailing between markers, undergo capsize training at the mouth of the Bronx River, and learn about sailing from a STEM-based approach centered on weather and physics. Advancing students teach sailing to middle school-age campers, incorporating the Reach curriculum as an effective engagement tool. They also support Community Sailing days that make sailing available to the public.
Sail Nauticus (Norfolk, VA)
Sail Nauticus is a Norfolk, VA based community sailing center that is a part of the maritime museum Nauticus. Sail Nauticus develops leadership and academic success through the art and science of sailing to underserved youth in Hampton Roads. Programs include a 120 ft education tall ship called the Schooner Virginia, summer camps, and the Academy. Sail Nauticus plans on continuing to implement the REACH initiative in all their youth programs.
Sail Newport (Newport, RI)
The 2023 US Sailing Reach Program Grant Sail Newport gratefully received will support the recently developed Thompson Middle School Marine Exploration Program (MEP) which was launched in September 2022. Aligned with Sail Newport’s mission of providing affordable community access to sailing for all, the MEP is a continuation of the highly regarded Pell Elementary School 4th Grade Science and Sailing Program established in 2017. Based at Sail Newport, MEP is an after-school program engaging 6th – 8th graders and consisting of three sequential 5-week sessions; the first focuses on an introduction to sailing and boating safety; the second focuses on an introduction to powerboating and powerboating safety and handling; and the third focuses on environmental science. Throughout, students also learn hands-on STEM lessons that connect aspects of sailing and powerboating with science and are also exposed to various career paths through guest presentations and facility tours with representatives from the marine industry.
SailVI (Christainsted, USVI)
SailVI is a 501(c)3 Charitable Foundation serving to provide support for programs that inspire and nurture competitive and noncompetitive sailing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. SailVI in coordination with the St Croix Yacht Club (SCYC) are both excited to introduce and expand a STEM sailing program to more island children through school, after school and summer programs. Introducing the REACH program to St Croix’s school children will offer the opportunity for those children to have exposure not only to STEM principals but to the sea and sailing. Without a program such as REACH, these students would not have the opportunity to be exposed to the wonderful world of sailing.
Seafarers Foundation (Annapolis, MD)
The Seafarers Yacht Club (SYC), based in Annapolis, Maryland was founded in 1959 and is one of the oldest historically African American yacht clubs in the country. Since 2003, their community-based work has been led by our philanthropic arm, the Seafarers Foundation. When the Foundation launched, the Summer Youth Program focused on swimming and drowning prevention, and maritime training for African American youth. Each summer, youth of color living in Anne Arundel and Prince Georges County participate in STEM activities at the Anne Arundel County Public Libraries, Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the National Park Service – Chesapeake. This summer, the Seafarers Foundation and Seafarers Yacht Club are piloting a new program, that will US Sailing’s Reach curriculum alongside power boating and small boat skills, as well as cruising and fishing!
Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation (Portland, OR)
Founded in 2007, Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that establishes programs and makes grants for the support of youth dinghy sailing in Oregon. OYSF succeeds by accomplishing its mission to “get more Oregon youth sailing” from all walks of life. In summer, OYSF offers a free beginner sail training program at the Willamette Sailing Club for Portland teens from traditionally underrepresented communities. This 10-week program combines US Sailing small boat training with marine Reach/STEAM curriculum, wooden boat building, and Willamette River exploration.
The Center for Wooden Boats (Seattle, WA)
The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) promotes northwest maritime heritage, and for over 40 years has presented a unique opportunity for people of all ages to explore outdoor maritime activities right in the heart of Seattle. CWB has been able to offer STEM sailing during our summer programs for over 10 years for students between the ages of 8-15. CWB has been working to implement US Sailing’s REACH programming into our school year afterschool sailing lessons, lessons offered in partnership with local schools, and summer camp programming through our Swift Sail Adventure Camp (formally Science of Sailing).