Published on TBNWeekly.com – Aug. 27, 2009 Setting a course
Click to see original article: Youth Sailing Club Teaches Teamwork
By ALEXANDRA CALDWELL
Article published on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009 DUNEDIN – Sailing lovers launched the Dunedin Youth Sailing Association to introduce kids to the sport at a young age. The nonprofit group hosted its kickoff event Aug. 16 and began its first nine-week session Aug. 23. The group’s goal is to build a competitive sailing organization for kids ages 8 to 16, although there are perhaps even more important goals. “(Sailing) is something that kids just love,” said Mary Kolb, commodore of the association. “They can get out there and do it on their own. They have nobody telling them how to do it or what to do. I really think it brings self-confidence to the children, self-esteem. This is a sport that kids can do who may not be a jock or an athlete.” Sailing is competitive yet individual, Kolb said, and it teaches responsibility. Rod Collman, chairman of the board for the Dunedin Youth Sailing Association, agreed. “It builds their self-esteem because they’re out there by themselves and are not dependent on other team members. It’s kind of like playing tennis,” Collman said. “It’s a sport where it’s up to you.”
The kids learn individual responsibility, as they are in charge of getting the prams out of storage, rigging them, putting on the sail and the tiller and then for sailing them out on the water, Kolb said. Then the kids will learn teamwork as they begin to compete as a fleet, Collman said.
The kids sail 8-foot prams that were commissioned by the Clearwater Optimist Club in 1947 and designed and built by Clark Mills in Dunedin. A youth pram sailing organization in Dunedin was popular in the 1950s and early 1960s but then died off, although the pram is now used all over the country, Collman said.
The new association will have a series of nine-week sessions from September to May that meet on Sunday afternoons. There will be about 20 prams on the water initially, which are owned and leased from the city of Dunedin. Kids will be assessed and divided into subgroups based on skill level. In addition to racing, participants will sail to islands and enjoy other activities on the water.
The association held a contest for kids to design its official logo and handed out the awards at the kickoff event Aug. 16. The first place winner was Savannah Rose Resch of Clearwater, who also won $200 and a free art class at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center. The second place winner was Kevin Cormier of Palm Harbor, who won $100 and a free class at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center. The third place winner was Gregory Reed Jordan of Dunedin who won $50.
Part of the association’s mission is “to provide quality instruction in sailing, safety, and racing skills while fostering the values of responsibility, team building, sportsmanship, and fairness in this ecologically sound sport.”
Collman said that even though he does not personally own a sailboat, he is drawn to sailing.
“It’s just a great sport because it doesn’t use any fuel,” Collman said. “You’re powered by the wind. It’s very green, ecologically good. And I think there’s something about being responsible for your own safety and being able to guide a boat out on the water.”
Kolb didn’t discover her love for sailing until she was in her 40s and is delighted that the association will help kids discover the sport at a younger age.
Collman thought up the idea for the association about five years ago and assembled a group of people from the Kiwanis club, the Dunedin Boat Club and the Dunedin Windlasses to help plan and organize the new association.
Collman said the Dunedin Youth Association fits wonderfully into the community and connects back to the city’s origins.
“If you look into the history of the community, it started with sailing schooners bringing goods to and from the waterfront area down there,” Collman said. “And Dunedin had the largest fleet of sailing vessels in Florida at one time.”
Kolb believes the association will be an asset to the city. “We hope that this youth sailing will be another diamond in delightful Dunedin,” Kolb said.
A nonprofit organization, the association raises money through events like the Dunedin Regatta Ball and the Dunedin Cup. The ball is set for Saturday, Sept. 19, with cocktails and the silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m. and dinner and dancing starting at 7:30. The ball is at the Dunedin Country Club, 1050 Palm Blvd.
The skipper’s meeting for the Waterfront Festival races is Friday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m., at the Dunedin Boat Club. The Waterfront Festival and races are set for Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, with the races on St. Joseph Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. The other events are set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Edgewater Park, 51 Main St.