On Saturday, the East Boston community helped Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) officially kick off its 2022 spring and summer sailing season. Piers Park Sailing Center staff hoisted the sails of its fleet during the ceremonial sail raising over the weekend.
PPSC Executive Director Alex DeFronzo said PPSC already has more than 600 youth enrolled in its summer programs–including Science of Sailing and Harbor Explorers–and another 90 youth participating in the PPSC after school sailing program that runs from now until mid June.
Of the 600 registered, 400 are Eastie youth returning for another fun-filled summer of sailing. DeFronzo said enrollment continues to grow year over year as well as job opportunities for local residents to become staff members.
“We were able to hire 70 staff members, which is a jump from the 66 we had last year and even a bigger jump from the 39 staff members we were able to hire two years ago,” said DeFronzo.
Over 200 community members, elected officials and Massport staff attended Saturday’s kickoff that included music from Zumix’s DiverCity Band.
PPSC also honored the Sailing Center’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year David Clinard and its 2021 Volunteer of the Year Mette Kreutzmann.
“We had a great time celebrating Opening Day 2022,” said DeFronzo. “Thank you to all our supporters for their dedication in making PPSC an inclusive sailing center for everyone. We look forward to the best season yet. We cannot wait to serve our community and continue to make Boston Harbor accessible for everyone.”
DeFronzo said while the youth summer program will kick off on July 5, PPSC is planning several special free community events throughout the summer.
“We’re gonna have a bunch of free community days with the first one scheduled for June 18 from 1pm to 4pm,” said DeFronzo. “This will be an event that offers free community kayaking and sailing with other events planned throughout the summer with the help of our supporters and sponsors.”
DeFronzo added that PPSC received a bunch of new sales from sponsored The Trustees of Reservations and Metis Systems and will add to new sailboats going this year bringing the fleet to 18.
“We’re very excited to kick off the season and I think it’s going to be a great year,” said DeFronzo. “We are going to be doing lots of free community events to encourage more people to come down, get out on the water and sail the harbor.”
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.
“I was happy to join Piers Park Sailing Center for their opening day!” said Rep. Adrian Madaro, who emceed Saturday’s event. “I have fond memories of learning to sail at PPSC as a kid. The sailing center is a gem on our waterfront, getting kids and adults out onto Boston Harbor to experience our community’s best natural resource. I am excited for my son Matteo to take lessons at PPSC in the near future.”