Fireworks marked Youth Sailing Foundation’s (YSF) 8th annual “Rock the Boat” fundraising gala at the Quail Valley River Club. Held the evening of March 13, threatening weather with imbedded lightening had organizers scrambling to reset the venue inside prior to the 5 PM arrival of 250 loyal YSF supporters attending the gala. As the crowd settled in after dinner to be entertained by auctioneer John Moore, Stu Keiller, YSF’s Executive Director, set-off more sparks with a surprise announcement of a $1 million gift being received that evening for the Capital Campaign to build a Community Sailing Center. The major gift brings the campaign total to over $3 million and within striking distance of $4 million required to build and endow the project.
While the donor wishes to remain anonymous, he wants everyone to know the gift is a tribute to volunteers and volunteerism. He feels those who voluntarily give their time and talent in support of organizations like Youth Sailing Foundation is the bedrock for success that enables them to accomplish their mission. He commented that “my father taught us the value of one’s time far exceeds the value of money. There can be no greater gift to one’s community.”
He went on to say that Youth Sailing Foundation embodies the spirit of volunteerism. From its founding in 2009 by Charlie Pope and a small group of volunteers it has grown to a robust community sailing organization with over 400 sailors from across the socioeconomic spectrum served every year. The growth is powered by a balance of monetary donations and a volunteer corps of sixty that provides 6,000 hours of shoreside and 3,000 hours on the waterside support annually. The talent is prodigious. It ranges from local business leaders and young professionals, to retired business executives and master craftsmen from across the country. They serve on the Board and committees, in the maintenance shops and out on water. Former America’s Cup sailors, the pinnacle of competitive sailing, can be found instructing young sailors on the finer points of racing. Former executives provide managerial guidance nurtured by a lifetime of leadership to the staff. It is a winning combination.
YSF Chairman of the Board Bill Krueger said this is a “truly organizationally empowering gift.”
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit devoted to eliminating cultural and financial barriers to sailing. Numerous youth programs are offered throughout the year, many of them free to participants. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit: www.ysfirc.org.