Laura McCaleb jumped in with both feet to help NWSA on our fundraising efforts.
Laura grew up in Northern California loving all sports related to water. She learned to sail and race on the waters of San Francisco Bay. In 2004 she purchased a Ranger 28 and enjoyed participating in on the water events in Marina Del Rey and small flotilla trips to Santa Barbara and Catalina Island.
She is a member of San Diego Women’s Sailing and became a member of Women’s Sailing Organization-Orange County in Dana Point at the time it rebranded from Women’s Ocean Racing Sailing Assn. Laura volunteered to organize the WSA-OC Ship Store and has served as Secretary.
She soon realized that WSA-OC needed programs to come more in line with their mission statement that included components of on the water philanthropic activities and preserving and protecting the oceans. Laura presented some ideas to the Board of Directors who then appointed her to a newly designed Philanthropy/Community service position on the Board.
Laura established procedures for WSA-OC Women in the Wind Day Sail which gives women who may be experiencing health or personal issues and have never been on the water a chance to get out, relax and breathe some fresh ocean air.
She conceived and developed the WSA-OC Scholarship/Grant fund to give access to “women of all stripes and at risk youth expanded access to sailing related activities and educational opportunities related to protecting the marine environment”. WSA-OC presented their first scholarship to a young lady from a local Boys & Girls Club in 2019.
Laura’s love of introducing at risk youth to new opportunities, especially sailing, had her searching out various programs for WSA-OC to host. A successful AdventureSail® was held in 2019 giving 15 girls access to their first opportunity of being on the water and taking the helm. Dana Point has been designated as the first Whale Heritage Site in North America so the girls had a fun opportunity to learn about migration presented by the Ocean Institute. They also learned about the blue heart of the ocean, dolphins and other marine life as well as how to tie knots. It was a rewarding day for members, mentors and girls alike.
She also organized events for the WSA-OC “Trashy Ladies” who have collectively picked up thousands of pounds of trash in the harbors and beaches over the years; and has been involved in the Newport Harbor Underwater Cleanup, Sail for the Visually Impaired, Ocean Awareness Challenge and Anchors Aweigh Youth Sailing program (which affords foster youth with a monthly day sail on the water and annual regatta).
Her love of racing kept tugging at her heart as well so she soon tried out for the WSA O’Seas race team and has competed in local races, charity regattas and the Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design Challenge for several years.
Laura has a heart to serve and strives to keep working on the issues that matter to her: cleaning up the environment, oceans and food, diversity and inclusion in groups and activities, and finding ways to engage at risk youth.
In the summer you can find her travelling to Mexico to help at local orphanages and you will often find her with one of her nine grandchildren who also share her love of travel, water activities, camping, biking and hiking.