On June 3, nineteen sailors ages 8-12 reported to opening day of Youth Sailing Foundation’s 2019 Summer Sailing Camp. There was excitement in the air as the boys and girls gathered in the boathouse at Quail Valley River Club to begin five days of sailing instruction and fun on the water.
In its ninth year, YSF’s camp program has grown in popularity and now hosts over 150 children throughout the summer. Eight 1-week sessions are held in June and July at Quail Valley and at The Moorings Yacht and Country Club, taking advantage of their prime waterfront locations and kid-friendly amenities. Camp sponsors Fidelity Investments and New Vision Eye Center provide a camp T-shirt for each child. YSF creates a virtual marina at each resort, using sections of its floating dock system, and provides an entire fleet of sailboats, ranging in size from 8- to 19-feet, along with several power boats, which ride along for supervision and safety.
The camp is staffed by certified sailing instructors and experienced volunteers, most of whom started at YSF as beginners and now sail during the school year on its Opti and 420 racing teams. While these teen staffers gain work experience or earn volunteer hours, they are also giving back to the YSF sailing program that has been such an important part of their young lives.
A 1:2 instructor-to-student ratio provides each camper with quality instruction. Many are able to skipper their own boat solo by the end of the week. Besides sailing, the children get to enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming in the resort pool.
Need-based financial aid, funded by grants from Quail Valley Charities and Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach and totaling over $11, 000, has been awarded to cover full or partial fees for more than 40 local children. About 25% of the campers are from out-of-town, enjoying sailing camp while vacationing with family at the beach or visiting resident grandparents. YSF camp brings together kids with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and by learning, sailing and playing together they often form friendships that endure for years.
Youth Sailing Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which offers a variety of programs, many free of charge, 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.