Worthwhile investment

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Looking to support a cause that helps children and teenagers become more well-rounded and teaches them respect for the environment? Look no farther than the Little Washington Sailing Club.

The club is preparing to begin its third year of teaching youngsters the basics of sailing, using the Pamlico River off Washington’s waterfront as its classroom. While sailing students participate in the classes offered during late spring and the summer, they also learn about the importance of protecting the environment in which they sail.

Although the club charges for the sailing classes, it does have a scholarship program that affords youngsters, who otherwise could not afford to learn to sail, opportunities to learn the basics of sailing. The club is working with the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club to identify youngsters to take advantage of such scholarship opportunities.

Businesses, nonprofit groups and civic organizations may want to consider helping underwrite the club’s scholarship program, or they may want to consider underwriting other expenses the club incurs in providing sailing classes to the young in the community. Several area businesses already support the club.

Wachovia and the Washington (Noon) Rotary provided major funding to the club in 2010. They’ve set an example for others to follow.

The club has hired Kevin Clancy as its program director. Clancy, who participated in a course to develop sailing instructors last year, brings an enthusiasm that will serve the club and its sailing students well.

The sailing club, under the auspices of Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, designed the sailing program’s curriculum to introduce participants to seamanship and sailing fundamentals as espoused by the U.S. Sailing Association. The program’s intent is to promote self-reliance, teamwork, safety awareness, sportsmanship and self-confidence. The club’s mission is to provide a sailing program for youth that encourages them to enjoy recreational sailing along the city’s waterfront and Pamlico River.

The club is more than fulfilling its mission.

Last year, the club had 48 students participate in its sailing classes. In the first two years of sailing classes, international students have participated. This year, two additional classes are being added to the schedule, including an advanced class for graduates of classes held in 2009 and 2010.

By investing in the Little Washington Sailing Club, supporters are investing in the community.

Editor’s note: For information on how to support the Little Washington Sailing Club, or to apply for sailing classes later this year, call 252-946-3969, or visit www.littlewashingtonsailingclub.org.