After four years, the New Orleans AdventureSail® is blossoming into what our founders may have envisioned for the program. It is beginning to fulfill the goals; “To enrich the lives of America’s young at-risk girls through sailing, thus opening their eyes to a multitude of life’s positive possibilities, and through continued participation in sailing provide a activity that will encourage positive life choices, develop self-confidence to overcome adverse living condition and introduce career paths and opportunities that involve the marine industry, marine related sciences and there local waters.”
“Continued participation in sailing,” is an AdventureSail program goal.
Over sixty local girls have sailed so far in New Orleans, which is great. But more importantly, some girls are becoming familiar faces with the Lake Pontchartrain Women’s Sailing Association (LPWSA) members and at the New Orleans Yacht Club (NOYC). For instance, a few girls from the “founding” Girl Scout troupe at the Pleasant Zion Baptist Church have attended every AdventureSail on Lake Pontchartrain (four now) and have also joined LPWSA at their annual Knot Tea party. At the Knot Tea Party the girls became so excitedly engaged it was suggested they should have their own girls’ Knot Tea Party. (Great idea!) We have met some girls’ parents, grandparents, minister and their troupe leaders both at the church and on our boats. A troupe leader even came and helped on race committee a few times. At the AdventureSail on August 18, a NOYC board member personally invited all girls sailing to join NOYC, at a fabulously low junior member rate. (Did I hear right, less than $10 per month?)
Girls have had the privilege to meet, and sail with, three amazing role models; US Coast Guard CAPT Lucinda Cunningham, Kwelyn Murphy a local television meteorologist, and Amye Sinclair a NYC sailor who has a passion for introducing women of color to sailing. Each speaker encouraged the girls to try things outside of their comfort zone and not only work hard, but be willing to struggle, to become whatever they dream. Their common message was, “You can do amazing things.” A mantra familiar to any sailor.
Perhaps inspired by NOYC’s great junior membership offer, Amye Sinclair suggested a way to help deepen the girls’ experience through continued participation in sailing. “Why not offer AdventureSail girls a free junior membership?” Sinclair’s suggestion was brought before the NWSA/WSF board the following week. The board agreed unanimously. Any girl who participates in an AdventureSail will be offered a free membership.
I was already enthused about the AdventureSail program. Now I’m downright excited! I urge all women sailors to consider hosting an AdventureSail in your area. It is so much fun, and as the mission statement says, it can open young girls eyes to a multitude of life’s positive possibilities. With sharing the joy of sailing to some unlikely young girls, you can provide a activity that will encourage positive life choices.
Let’s start new AdventureSail programs in 2019. We are currently working on a comprehensive “How to Guide” for establishing your AdventureSail. Please ask us how to start, what we can offer and give us your suggestions on how we can help you start your local AdventureSail program.
NWSA President, Debbie Huntsman helped establish an AdventureSail in Phoenix, Arizona and in New Orleans, Louisiana. For information and check-list on developing an AdventureSail® in your area contact [email protected] or [email protected]