The East Boston Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) has opened registration for Eastie residents for the 2013 Youth Development Program at the Sailing Center. The program includes sailing, environmental science, leadership training and is part of the Summer Food Service Project in partnership with the East Boston YMCA.
Surprisingly, despite being a free program for Eastie children there were many slots open for sailing lessons towards the tail end of last summer.
“Engaging with youth from East Boston is our mission and with that aim the sailing center opens registration a week early for East Boston residents,” said Executive Director Robert Martin. “We are hoping to serve 1,000 youth this summer for the first time in program history.”
The fabric of the community is weaved by programs like Piers Park Sailing Center and since losing a lions share of its funding from Massport in 2001, the dedicated staff have been raising funds to keep the Sailing Center afloat.
With no city, state or federal aid, the sailing center relies primarily on grants, corporate contributions and private donations to underwrite the costs of the free youth programs.
Past fundraising events have raised nearly $60,000 through donations and auctions for programs that have helped local kids get the experience of a lifetime, have fun and learn important life lessons about teamwork, leadership and strategic thinking.
While running a community sailing center may be expensive PPSC has helped get kids off the streets and into productive programming. The center has built a population of confident young people with social and leadership skills that connect them to their natural environment, their community and to each other.
The sailing center is a non-profit community sailing facility on Eastie’s waterfront that offers free programs to youth. Kids work closely with instructors, and learn everything from sailing basics to advanced racing, boat maintenance, and navigation. Besides learning to sail, kids learn how to work as a team, build self-confidence, gain leadership and character skills, and develop a deeper appreciation for the sea and its natural surroundings.
It costs the Sailing Center about $500 to give each Eastie kid two weeks of free sailing lessons. From 1995 though 2001 Massport provided a base level of funding and the physical infrastructure for the community sailing facility. During that time the popularity of the program increased steadily and continues to do so today through fundraising efforts.
Being one of the few sailing programs in the nation that can lay claim to once having an Olympic gold medalist on staff, last year the Sailing Center got a grant for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
The Sailing center was one of 97 organizations selected to receive the 2012 Olympic Opportunity Fund to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically and visually impaired veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities.