By John Lynds
Just a few short months ago it looked as though East Boston would forever lose its beloved community sailing program. At the end of the sailing season last fall Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) was forced to layoff its year-round employees because there was no money left to keep the program going. It looked as though the two-decade old sailing program was doomed and unless the board was able to raise enough money before sailing began this spring PPSC would have not reopen for the 2017 season.
However, the community was determined not to let PPSC sink into the abyss and sprung into action. Through a neighborhood grassroots fundraising effort and generous grants from organizations like PierPac, Massport, the East Boston Foundation and some local developers, the future looks bright for the Sailing Center.
This week, PPSC Executive Director Alex DeFronzo announced that local enrollment has hit 185 youths that have signed up for PPSC’s summer programs.
“Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) has re-opened for 2017 and despite the cold start to the season, hundreds have already sailed Boston Harbor this year through youth and adult programming supported by the East Boston Foundation, PiersPAC, Massport, and the local community,” said DeFronzo. “One hundred eighty five East Boston youth have registered for PPSC’s Inclusive Summer Program, more than ever before. Expanded outreach efforts and renewed support for the Center have resulted in many weeks of summer enrollment filling to capacity.”
DeFronzo added that also, during the month of May, twenty adult students have graduated PPSC’s Learn-to-Sail Program, while just over one hundred youth have sailed through after-school and field trip activities.
“PPSC has also hosted a group of 20 disabled veterans from the Bedford VA for sailing lessons every Friday, continuing through the end of June,” he said. “The Sailing Center continues efforts in its financial recovery while also updating equipment on the fleet of boats to ensure safety.”
Families can still enroll their children in the PPSC summer programs by visiting www.piersparksailing.org/youth-sailing/youth-programs.