On Saturday, the East Boston community helped Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC)officially kick off its 2019 spring and summer sailing season.
PPSC already has more than 200 Eastie youth enrolled in its summer programs including Science of Sailing and Harbor Explorers.
“While we reduced the overall number of slots to ensure that every child is able to attend at least two weeks of programming, Eastie enrollment continues to grow year over year,” said PPSC Executive Director Alex DeFronzo. “Many of the kids who participate in our after school programs and in-classroom programs have enrolled as new students, in part because of their exposure to PPSC through off season lessons, and in part because of the Y’s awesome new swim programming at the Umana which has a lot more youth learning to swim early on.”
Over 200 community members, elected officials and Massport staff attended Saturday’s kickoff that included free community sailing and kayaking as well as music from Veronica Robles All-Women Mariachi Band, food and activities for children from the Harborkeepers.
PPSC also honored three Eastie Harbor Heroes–Sen. Joe Boncore, Councillor Lydia Edwards and Massport CEO John Pranckevicius.
“On behalf of the 1,300 members of Team Massport we are proud and privileged to be a corporate sponsor to this program,” said Pranckevicius. “We want to thank Alex and his team for all the great work they do day in and day out. This sailing center is a treasured asset to the East Boston community. We are fortunate to be a small part of its overall success. The team does a fantastic job teaching kids how to sail as well as providing opportunities for a new skill they will use throughout their life. This is such a fabulous program here in East Boston on the waterfront.”
DeFronzo also highlighted a relatively new program that started a few years ago at PPSC.
“PPSC is also looking forward to continuing a partnership with the McKay school to provide summertime programming through BPS,” said DeFronzo. “Students will walk down from the McKay to sail afternoons in the summer.”
For over two decades the non-profit community sailing facility on Eastie’s waterfront that offers free programs to neighborhood youth has been taking kids off the streets and into productive programming. The center has built a population of confident youth with social and leadership skills that connect them to their natural environment, their community and to each other. Throughout the sailing season 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.