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Looking in on Sailing Symposiums

Regional Symposium

symposium establishing shot
The US Sailing Regional Symposium met on March 22 at Sequoia Yacht Club.
© 2019 Paul Kamen

Jen Guimaraes, US Sailing Youth Education Manager, conducted the Northern California US Sailing Regional Symposium at Sequoia Yacht Club on Friday. Topics ranged from the new “SafeSport” online training requirement for instructors to waterfront land use issues to long-term problems with retention and growth.

Jen Guimaraes leading discussion
Jen Guimaraes facilitated breakout groups focusing on topics suggested by participants.
© 2019 Paul Kamen

One of the themes centered on “Squaring the Pyramid,” exploring policies to keep larger numbers of youth involved in sailing as they grow out of their junior programs. From the US Sailing newsletter:

“The pressure to climb the pyramid, at the expense of long-term participation and well-rounded skill development, has parents, instructors and program leaders looking to US Sailing for guidance and a different approach. They’ve seen too many kids drop out, and they’re not alone.”

Graphic of pyramid
Graphic representation of the “Squaring the Pyramid” theme.
© 2019 US Sailing

The problem is well articulated in a short video by Nevin Sayre, a very successful racer who advocates much less emphasis on racing in junior programs in favor of “adventure sailing.”

A panel discussion led by four youth sailors from the nearby Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation, Tommy Ashworth, Ethan Lowenthal, Timmy Gee and Zoe Flemate, capped the program.

REACH Program

On Saturday, US Sailing moved down the street to The Club at Westpoint Harbor, where Jen conducted an all-day session to train and certify instructors in the US Sailing Reach program. This is a set of middle school science modules that can complement a youth sailing program for STEM education. One day does not a science teacher make, but the curriculum is interesting. It includes some great ideas for engineering/craft/science projects that middle schoolers can complete in a rainy afternoon.

Kids conducting science experiment
Building and calibrating anemometers is part of the Reach STEM middle school curriculum.
© 2019 Paul Kamen

If you teach sailing or science, sign up next time the training comes to town.

1 Comment

  1. Richard Jepsen 3 years ago

    Thanks for the shout out, Paul, and also for your insights on public access sailing. Everyone, I also attended the Regional Symposium and learned a ton. the “ask the kids” segment was eye opening for lots of sailing leaders in the room. We learned that variety keeps kids in sailing – competition/non-competitive events; Fleet Racing /Match Racing; Dinghies/keelboats; sailing with Peers/adults/own family; big regatta/adventure sailing; in elite sports it is called cross training, but I think this ‘cross training’ is good for the soul and enthusiasm of our young sailors. I have their sometime surprising answers in a Word document if you’d like to see it. my email is [email protected]

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