Who we are
The Huntington Beach Sailing Foundation was established to promote the sport of sailing among youths. By doing so, the Sailing Foundation seeks to create an interest in, and develop youth enthusiasts of, local, national and international amateur sailing, competition, maritime education and stewardship of the environment. To achieve this goal, the foundation provides instructors, sailing equipment and facilities, and trained instruction to encourage youth participation in such maritime activities. Its activities are focused in and around Huntington Beach and its surrounding areas of southern California. The foundation reaches out to all youths in the area, including underprivileged, economically disadvantaged, and physically challenged youths, who would not normally have access to the sailing experience.
Through its summer sailing program, the Sailing Foundation seeks to develop the skills of individuals to sail; to foster confidence and self-reliance in a way that enhances self-esteem and mental, spiritual and emotional development; to promote competition in a manner that encourages teamwork, leadership, good sportsmanship and honor; and to provide a structured environment and fun summer activity for children as they grow and develop into young adults.
Sailing provides children (and adults) a unique sense of independence and freedom, while requiring responsibility, safety, teamwork and respect for the environment. A day on the water can create memories that last a lifetime. A summer on the water can build self-esteem, self-reliance and lifetime friendships.
The Sailing Foundation=s primary activity is its summer sailing program. Children ages 6 to 18 participate in four to eight-week sessions where they are taught water safety, rigging of sailboats, and sailing techniques and strategies. They then apply this knowledge by taking to the water in individual sailboats under the watchful eye of certified instructors. The foundation primarily uses Naples-class sailboats intended for single sailors. As students progress during the summer and from year-to-year, they can advance from beginning levels to intermediate and advanced sailing categories, where the opportunity to sail larger, two-person sailboats is available.
During the summer sessions, all young sailors (including beginning sailors) will develop adequate sailing skills and command of their sail boats to participate in organized regattas in the southern California area. Each year more than 90% of the foundation=s students compete in and successfully complete a 3-1/2 mile, 1-1/2 hour, open ocean water regatta along the Long Beach coastline.
The foundation hires U.S. Sailing certified instructors for its summer sailing program. In 2009, the foundation reached across the pond to the UK where it secured two Irish Sailing Association Senior certified instructors to join the instructor staff. The addition of those two instructors furnished a sharing of knowledge, teaching techniques, and organizational approaches between the U.S.-trained and Irish-trained instructors B enhancing the effectiveness of the training offered to the students. The foundation hopes to continue to recruit instructors from other areas of the country and the world to broaden the level of its program of instruction.
The Sailing Foundation also hosts educational seminars open to the public throughout the year on such issues as marine wildlife conservation; environmental preservation of, and concerns for, our local waterways; public classes in CPR and first aid; boating safety; marine weather and navigation; racing techniques and strategies; and other sailing related topics of interest. Classes are regularly held by the U.S. Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Red Cross. The foundation also sponsors trips to Catalina Island for sailing and encourages its students to participate in clean-up programs for the local beaches and the Bolsa Chica Wildlife Refuge, which borders the waterways where the foundation=s summer sailing program is held.
Since the students in the summer sailing program ARE children, its activities are designed with that fact in mind. Weekly, the classes sail to a local island beach where the kids take time out for swimming and other water activities (i.e., water fights). The children also are treated to a day at a local water park during the summer. And each week the Sailing Foundation hosts a burger bash, where the students compete in sailing races for trophies and later share tales of their experience over a hamburger or hot dog. At the end of each summer, all students and their parents are invited to the awards banquet, where all sailors receive their certificates of achievement and other awards and prizes.
Participants in the Huntington Beach Sailing Foundation=s summer sailing program learn a unique talent and, in doing so, develop skills and confidence that will benefit them throughout their lives. Because of the restrictive and costly nature of sailing (high capital cost of boats, requirement of proximity to waterways, limited availability of instruction to the general public), sailing is an activity that is enjoyed primarily by the wealthy and affluent. As a recreational activity, the percentage of Americans who have ever sailed is less than 1%. The Sailing Foundation offers every child in the Huntington Beach area a chance to participate in this very rewarding activity.
Sponsorships for disadvantaged youths
Each summer the Sailing Foundation sponsors economically or physically disadvantaged children who desire to learn to sail. Such sponsorships are available to any person over the age of six who applies, regardless of where they live, their sex, religious background, or ethnic origins.
To be considered for a sponsorship, the parent(s) of the child need only submit a letter describing their financial situation and economic need. The board of the sailing foundation then determines whether to sponsor that individual. If granted, the child participates in any of the sailing sessions at no cost.
To date, no applicant for a scholarship has ever been turned down. The only limiting factors to the number of sponsorships available each year are the number of instructors the foundation can afford to hire, the number of sail boats in seaworthy condition, and the donations received and available to fund such sponsorships.
While the summer sailing program has not been able to accept tax deductible donations in the past, many individuals have made cash donations to sponsor needy children. The continued generosity of such donors will allow the sailing foundation to grant further scholarships.