At a time in our lives when we could all use some good news, I have just that. This summer, our organization, Learn to Sail Inc., a 501(3)c in Punta Gorda had the great pleasure of having several youth ambassadors and volunteers who contributed a great deal to our success.
At Learn to Sail, we teach both children and adults how to sail. Since the first week of May, we have held ten weeks of classes for kids, ages eight to eighteen. During those weeks we have our Sr. Volunteers who were working hard to make sure the kids received the sailing education and safety lessons they need to become competent sailors. The kids are captaining sailboats such as Picos, Sunfish, SailQubes, Holders, and Americans.
Our Safety Boats, motored by two experienced volunteers are always nearby, coaching the kids and making sure our sailors are safe. Our shore crew is monitoring the weather making sure the kids and volunteers are safe from lightning, storms, or strong winds, which could cause the kid's safety to be put at risk.
Among all these volunteers, we had two youth ambassadors this summer, Ms. Abigail Willis and Ms. Hunter Ingram. These two were selected as Learn to Sail Ambassadors because of their experience, knowledge, skills, and willingness to give the kids one on one assistance if they needed it. These girls spent many hours on a sailboat with our beginner students who were unsure or simply needed some reassurance by our ambassadors. They also provided instruction through demonstration of our capsize drills and helped the students when they needed some encouragement to get the boat upright.
Hunter and Abigail provided invaluable input on ways Learn to Sail might improve from the student’s perspective. We encouraged the Ambassadors to share their information and listened to what they had to say and made changes where it was feasible.
We also had several youth volunteers, including Hugh Ingram, Luca Vaast-Petrovick, Andrew Caparo, Luke & Oliver Helgemo, Brooke Ham, Jackson Porter, Katherine Small, Molly Sonn, & Kelsey Whitten who worked very hard at helping our Summer Sessions to be a success. The Ambassadors would help the students by showing them the knots they needed to learn or help them rig or de-rig their sailboats. The Ambassadors would ride on their sailboats with the students, offering them one-on-one instruction and they always kept the classes fresh and exciting. Our instructors relied on these youth volunteers and rightfully so.
Our kids provided all the Sr. Volunteers with a daily dose of youthful enthusiasm and made the purpose to our sailing instruction crystal clear. These kids were all extremely special to us. All the kids were well-mannered, hard-working, intelligent, and kept us laughing with their quick wit and ability to keep us all grounded.
We hear bad news about the youth today, but these kids restored my faith. These are the kids who are doing very well in school, have parents who are invested in their future and are doing their utmost to expose them to activities which will enhance their lives. These are the kids who can, and I believe it will make a difference in our future. This fills me with such hope and pride. These are the kids who will change this world.
So, I offer my deepest gratitude and thanks to each and every young person who gave their hearts to us this summer and helped us to make Learn to Sail have another outstanding success in teaching kids how to sail. Their contribution to our organization is not only welcome but is appreciated. We pray all our youth volunteers will all keep Learn to Sail in their thoughts and will share the information about us with their friends, teachers, counselors, neighbors, and extended family. These kids are undoubtedly the cherry on top of our summer.
Julie Jackson, President
Learn to Sail Inc.