U.S. Sailing’s Reach Initiative could expand SoCal presence

Programs in San Diego, Dana Point and Long Beach use sailing to ramp up STEM education.

NATIONWIDE — An estimated 224,000 youth benefitted from U.S. Sailing’s STEM Education Initiative in 2017, according to a report published by the organization. The initiative reportedly reached more than 400 programs and U.S. Sailing Events, including Mission Bay Aquatic Center, Long Beach Sailing Foundation and Dana Point’s Westwind Sailing.

U.S. Sailing released the “2017 Impact Report” to reveal how the Reach Initiative engaged youth, enhanced careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and fostered environmental stewardship through hands-on learning.

About 88 percent of students gained additional sailing skills through the initiative, according to the impact report. Roughly 93 percent of participating students believe “they will do well in high school classes similar to those subjects in the Reach program,” according to the report.

The initiative’s presence in Southern California could be expanded in 2018, the impact report stated. Mission Bay Aquatic Center was identified as an “Emerging STEM Center of Excellence.” As many as 2,379 Southern California students were reached and six new partnerships created by the initiative in 2017.

One of the initiative’s partners – Extreme Sailing Series – reached 300 youths in San Diego as part of its Scavenger Hunt & Navigation event. Other partner events included America’s Cup in Bermuda (1,935 students and 3,000 youths reached) and Tall Ships America events in Boston and Charleston, South Carolina (1,500 youth).

Other organizations participating in the U.S. Sailing Reach Initiative included Baltimore County Sailing Center, Beverly Yacht Club, Community Boating Centers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont, Greater Richmond Sailing Association, Hudson River Community Sailing, Kauai Sailing Association, Park City Sailing, Sarasota Youth Sailing and Wayzata Community Sailing Center.

The Reach Initiative was launched in 2012 as part of a plan to engage sailing programs around the country. Nearly 90 percent of students participating in the Reach Initiative are first-time sailors, according to U.S. Sailing.

More than 100,000 students participate in Reach annually, with about half of participants considered at-risk youths.

U.S. Sailing photo

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