A small group of Youth Sailing Foundation volunteers returned to work on Tuesday, May 12, after a six-week shutdown due the COVID-19 emergency. Practicing social distancing and wearing masks, six men began needed maintenance on sailboats and safety launches. With summer camp scheduled to open on June 1, a full slate of duties was issued by lead volunteer Larry Kiefer.
YSF’s Summer Sailing Camp utilizes a fleet of fifteen sailboats and five Boston Whalers. All must be prepared and tuned for eight weeks of intensive use. With over 150 campers, age 8 to 13, and a staff of fifteen instructors, the boats are on the water for four to five hours a day during the forty days camp is session.
YSF volunteers possess a wide range of skills. Some are master mechanics, rigging experts, or hull repair specialists, while others simply enjoy tinkering with outboard engines, fixing boat trailers, or wood working. Whatever their area of expertise, they all donate their time every Tuesday and Thursday morning for the love of boating and the desire to share that love with Indian River County children. In total about fifty volunteers contribute approximately 5,000 hours of skilled labor each year, maintaining YSF’s fleet of eighty sailboats and ten power boats. The dollar value of the labor alone would exceed $300,000 annually. Youth Sailing Foundation could not survive without these devoted volunteers.
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit offering free sailing instruction to over 200 children throughout the school year. During June and July, YSF hosts weekly sailing camps for local residents and summer visitors, providing scholarships to any family not able to afford the fee. About fifty percent of all those attending the 2020 camp will receive financial aid, thanks to generous funding from Quail Valley Charities and private donors.
For more information on YSF camp and programs or to make a donation, visit www.ysfirc.org.