Celebrating its 10th anniversary year, Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Night last Tuesday evening. Over 100 volunteers and spouses gathered at YSF’s Vero Beach facility for a shrimp boil and a special celebration honoring seven founding volunteers.
In 2009, Charlie & Chris Pope, Al Ebstein, Varoujan (Pops) Karentz, Greg Gerber, Dan Thomas and Bob Williams, among others, had the vision, dedication and skills to found Youth Sailing Foundation in a corner of the Vero Beach City Marina. These seven individuals remain an integral part of the Foundation’s operation ten years later. From a modest start, building five wooden 8-foot Opti sailboats for a handful young sailors, YSF has grown to 150 sailors, grades 4-12, participating each week in free sailing instruction. The corps of volunteers who make this happen has grown to more than 60 in number, maintaining a fleet of 85 sailboats and 12 power boats, and serving as instructors and safety officers out on the Lagoon. This faithful crew logs over 5000 volunteer hours a year.
While all volunteers received a YSF polo shirt as a token of thanks, the special honorees were presented with high-tech foul weather jackets with their names embroidered below the YSF logo and signal flag pennants “one” and “zero” denoting ten years of loyal service to the children of Indian River County.
Following the presentation all attendees settled down to enjoy a low country shrimp boil expertly prepared by Board members Beckett Horner and Patrick Hopkins.
YSF sailors can be found sailing on the Indian River Lagoon seven days a week nearly year-round. In addition to junior sailor programs, YSF offers adaptive sailing for the special needs members of our community, and adult sailing lessons for those who want to learn to sail or refresh old skills. Summer camps at The Moorings Yacht & Country Club and Quail Valley River Club attract over 150 children, including many from around the country who visit their Vero Beach grandparents.
Youth Sailing Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit offering free instruction as a means to engage local children who would otherwise have no opportunity to experience the enjoyment and challenge of sailing. To learn more, volunteer, or make a donation, please call 772-492-3243 or visit www.ysfirc.org.