Using sailing as an educational platform, the US Sailing Reach Program creates opportunities for middle-school teachers and youth sailing program directors to work together to teach students sailing, essential academic skills and environmental stewardship.
The program is designed to help schools with their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum. During 2014’s Charleston Race Week, teachers attending the program’s educator course set the grounds for big changes in a South Carolina school district.
Marion County, South Carolina, has suffered an economic downturn, and the education system is feeling the effects.
Wayne Burdick, president of Beneteau America, brought 10 teachers from Marion County to Charleston to participate in the Reach Educator Course. The plan was to initiate a STEM learning program within the district to help revitalize student interest in these subjects. For Burdick, Marion County’s struggles hit close to home, as the town of Marion is home to a Beneteau factory that is a large part of the region’s economy.