Unique Challenges of Community Youth Sailing Programs

While volunteers at Alameda Community Sailing Center were getting their space ready for the recent Spring Sailing Camp at their Encinal Boat Ramp location, they saw the need to do something about all the weeds that have grown in the boat storage area.

Sheep at Alameda Community Sailing Center
This is how some organic farms solve weeding problems. Why not sailing programs?
© 2019 Nancy Hird

In addition to sailing skills, an important component of all youth programs is teaching young sailors an appreciation for the environment as well as good stewardship practices. This meant a ‘green’ method of weed removal was paramount. The solution? Borrowing some black sheep to graze throughout the camp boat storage yard until they’d devoured all the weeds. Now, with the weeds gone, instructors and volunteers can focus on the more important aspects of sail training like gudgeon and pintle repair and sail repair, and keeping boats on the water filled with smiling kids.

Sheep in front of boats on trailers
A lot of old boats have been put out to pasture. Not these. They’ll be taking kids sailing soon.
© 2019 Nancy Hird
Sheep at Alameda Community Sailing Center
This is what fleece used to look like. Now, with ‘fleece’ jackets made of plastic, these animals have had to find a new career.
© 2019 Nancy Hird
Sheep at Alameda Community Sailing Center
The sheep did an effective job and seemed to want to hang around for sailing lessons.
© 2019 Nancy Hird

We understand some of these sheep are hoping to win the ‘Barn Door Trophy’ in the upcoming 50th Transpac. To learn more about Alameda Community Sailing’s upcoming summer programs, please see Sail Alameda.

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