Want to get back into teaching? Take your Level 1 course with the Arizona Sailing Foundation this spring!

US Sailing, in conjunction with the Arizona Sailing Foundation, will cover the registration fees for anyone whose Level 1 has been expired for more than 10 years and is interested in attending the in-person Level 1 course section at the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) April 28-30, 2023. US Sailing will waive the fee for the online course section and Teaching and Coaching Fundamentals Online ($135 total value), and the Arizona Sailing Foundation has kindly agreed to cover the cost for three people to attend the in-person course section ($300 value). There are still spaces in the course for community members to take advantage of this awesome offer.

Ahead of the course, US Sailing spoke to Emory Heisler of ASF about what inspired the Foundation to make this offer, as well as the benefits and challenges to teaching sailing in the desert.

US Sailing: Tell us about the type of programming that ASF offers.

Emory Heisler, Arizona Sailing Foundation: ASF teaches sailing fundamentals to juniors, high school students and adults based on US Sailing’s Learn Sailing Right – Beginner course. All levels get hands on sailing experience on day one. For adults our goal is for them to gain sufficient skill and knowledge to continue building their confidence and competence in centerboard boats like Sunfish, Lasers, Capri 14.2s and similar small boats.

US Sailing: Why do you think it’s important for coaches / people in the industry to have their level 1 certification?

Emory Heisler: Like any certification process, the L1 class provides a common framework, vocabulary, and proven methods for providing sailing education, instead of “making it up on your own.”

US Sailing: Why did the ASF decide to cover costs for several participants?

Emory Heisler: ASF has plenty of student demand and we’re hoping our use of Grants and Scholarships donated by ASF supporters can help us catch up to that demand by incentivizing some instructor candidates that might not be able to afford the costs on a student or recent graduate’s budget. Also, Stu Gilfillen (of US Sailing) is also providing incentives for renewals by previously certified instructors that have been inactive for 10 or more years. This is a great way to remove barriers and get instructors reengaged with our sailing instruction programs.

US Sailing: As a paper-only club, what are some ways that ASF gets people in boats and out sailing?

Emory Heisler: Paper only? LOL! OK, so we don’t have a building, a dining room, etc. We DO have volunteers and boats and a great relationship with the City of Tempe for boat storage at Tempe Town Lake (TTL) marina. We have a been running classes and community sailing programs on TTL for 20+ years. And we’ve introduced a couple thousand people to sailing right here in the middle of the desert. Likewise for our partners at the Arizona Yacht Club. With over 270 families and 65 years of continuous operations and thousands of races under our belts, “Paper-only”? Hardly. “Trailer-rig Yacht Club” and Sailing School? OK. I can live with that. 😎

US Sailing: What are the unique challenges and what have you done to address them? What works for ASF?

Emory Heisler: Growth has been one of our biggest challenges. ASF has been training roughly the same number of students per year for probably 15 years. What HAS worked, past tense, was our cadre of volunteer instructors, mostly sourced from Arizona Yacht Club. Now and in the future, with the upcoming L1 Instructor class and the promotion and incentives being offered, we are working to expand our volunteer base beyond AYC, with non-AYC sailors and with ASU Sailing Club sailors. More instructors mean the opportunity to provide more classes and put more sailors and boats on the water more often.

Intersted? Email Stu Gilfillen (stugilfillen@ussailing.org) for more information!