Testing the Waters: Development of a High School Sailing Team Sailing as an Educational Tool
Girrell, Andrew M.
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Traverse City Michigan and the surrounding region is endowed with many natural resources. Among the most prominent and important of these resources are the abundant and pristine fresh water lakes. Despite such a favorable and conducive environment there existed no organized public programs for the instruction of sailing to area youth prior to 1994. In that year a group of local sailors addressed this absence by funneling their passion for sailing into the formation of Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS). Founded as a non-profit organization, TACS was to affordably promote the sport of sailing among area youth on the basis that sailing is a lifelong sport that promotes values of fairness while teaching the importance of independence and self-reliance teamwork and furthermore, the conjunction of the two. During first summer in 1994 there were only 34 students taught by an all volunteer staff on borrowed boats. The facilities that year comprised of a decommissioned city bus that was towed on site to serve as equipment storage and an office and a port-a-potty. In the following years TACS began to grow its fleet through both the building and the donation of boats. These boats and the expansion in the number of sessions offered allowed the enrollment during the summer to increase significantly. In the development and improvement of the public park at which TACS operates, a public pavilion and permanent docks were constructed and TACS was permitted use of these facilities. Implementation of more standardized curricula, new boat classes, a special program week and the hiring of more instructors continued the expansion and solidification of the program. The acquisition of grant funds allowed children who would otherwise not be able to attend to take part in the programs.