The Vero Beach Rowing Club and St. Edward’s School hosted YSF’s popular Summer Sailing Camp at their facilities this summer. The one-week sailing camps ran parallel with the hosts’ rowing and water sports camps. Both organizations welcomed YSF’s 25 young sailors (ages 8-13) each week with open arms and made everyone feel at home.
Through forward planning, the logistics of adding sixteen small sailboats to the already busy waterfronts came off without a single maritime incident. Sailboats and rowing shells launched side-by-side at McWilliams Park. Sailboats shared St. Edward’s Cove with assorted powered watercraft. With 200 sailors taking to the water over the course of 8 weeks of camp it was busy summer on the Indian River Lagoon.
The spirit of cooperation and friendliness by the hosts was on display throughout the four weeks in June at Vero Beach Rowing Club and a similar run in July at St. Edward’s School. Recognizing all three organizations are dedicated to the nurturing and development of the children of Indian River County made for a natural partnership. Each recognized the skills and professionalism of the waterfront staffs and worked seamlessly to safely blend disparate watercraft – sailboats, rowing shells, and jet-skis – so that sailors, rowers, and motorboaters operated safely with everyone having a blast out on the Lagoon.
There are many things that make Vero Beach unique. Having three organizations very different in size, age, and traditions come together with the common goal of providing children with a nurturing and safe summer activity speaks loudly of the quality of life we all enjoy.
Youth Sailing Foundation (YSF) opened eight weeks of Summer Sailing Camp on June 7 with twenty-five sailors enjoying a week of sailing on the Indian River Lagoon. Sailing eight new 12-foot RS Fevas, with green florescent sails, the performance dinghies provide a colorful seascape against the blue sky and waters of the Indian River Lagoon. Motorists on the Barber Bridge were treated with a panoramic view of the beautiful scene. Visitors to Memorial Island stopped and smiled as they heard the squeals of delight coming from the water as sailors enjoyed the unique experience of piloting their own boats.
Visiting spoils islands and picking up trash provides an opportunity to teach the fundamentals of Lagoon ecology. The impact on the life of the Lagoon of various pollutants, from the trash they see to unseen nutrients, is brought home to the sailors. Some are inspired to learn more and become future stewards of the Indian River Lagoon advocating for environmental practices that will restore and preserve the beautiful natural resource that impacts our entire community.
Sailing takes children out of their comfort zone into a new world of wind and waves. Digital gadgets are left ashore. Focus and concentration are required. One can go from sailing to swimming in a heartbeat. Sailing is experiential learning that instills confidence that will endure and provide a building block for a successful life.
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit devoted to eliminating cultural and financial barriers to sailing. Numerous youth programs are offered throughout the year, many of them free to participants. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit: www.ysfirc.org