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Youth Sailing Foundation Holds First Annual Awards Picnic

Youth Sailing Foundation (YSF) held the First Annual Awards Picnic on May 6, 2023 at the Environmental Learning Center (ELC). Over one hundred and fifty sailors and families attended on a stormy evening that drove festivities inside from the planned venue at ELC’s beautiful new pavilion.

Thanks to ELC’s Executive Director Barbara Schlitt, and the combined staffs of ELC, YSF and our trusty caterer Wild Thyme, the transition was made on the fly and everyone had a great time dancing around the raindrops. 

Families arrived early to explore the discovery and learning center, intently listening to the touch tank educators, playing with immersive recycling exhibits and gaining a better understanding of our Indian River lagoon! This also gave parents and sailors who wouldn’t normally see one another, time to socialize before the BBQ dinner and awards ceremony began.

The first annual “Seamanship Award” sponsored by Barth Construction had co-winners Moses Hightower and Nicholas LaRochelle accepting their plaques from CEO, and community sailing member, Phil Barth. The award is given to a sailor who exhibits outstanding seamanship skills – rigging, navigation, rules of the road and safety. These two sailors are proficient sailing the Feva, Sunfish, Laser, and Hobie classes. Moses joined us in the afterschool Adventure class this past Fall, while Nicholas is a multi-year participant of our homeschool adventure class. We have high hopes to see both of these sailors continue through our program and beyond!

The first annual “Corinthian Award”, sponsored by Tom and Louise Kappus, was given to Kenleigh Flynt for exceptional sportsmanship following the Corinthian principles of fair-play. Kenleigh is another multi-year participant of our homeschool Adventure program and has shown us years worth of outstanding character and sportsmanship. We hope Kenleigh continues sharing her positive spirit and determination with fellow sailors and we look forward to seeing how she grows in our program!

The New York Yacht Club “Sailor of the Year” award was presented to Alex Delamarter. Alex sailed the 2022 United States Opti National Championship regatta on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon during the summer of 2022 and finished in the top 50% to qualify for the 2023 finals. He, his family, and YSF Coach Roberto Ayala were in St. Petersburg Florida competing in the 2023 Optimist Team Trials so the award was accepted on Alex’s behalf by Sailing Director Ben Chafee.

Jennifer LaRochelle was awarded “Parent of the Year” for her tireless work organizing and inspiring homeschool families to join her two sons sailing at YSF. Over forty homeschool sailors participated in two per week sailing classes during the 2022-23 academic year. In addition, Jennifer served on YSF’s “Rock the Boat” gala committee that staged a very successful fundraiser on March 13, 2023 and has helped YSF find new and unique grant opportunities, increasing our fundraising capabilities and expanding our community outreach.

Jim Delamarter received our “Golden Tow Hitch” award, for the racing parent who towed boats to regattas the most throughout the year. His efforts did not go unseen, especially since he was also accompanying his Sailor of the Year son, Alex, at National Team Trials during the event. Nevertheless, he still received the coveted golden hitch and a few other items to say thank you for all his dedication to YSF!

Our final award recipients were those of the S.A.I.L. award. It stands for Sportsmanship, Attitude, Integrity and Leadership and is awarded to a sailor who exemplified these traits positively on and off the water. The recipients of this honor were Mia Lloyd from our Opti Race program, Edee Steinkamp and Mikey Ladd, both skippers on our Varsity 420 race team. Mia was present to accept her honor, however Edee and Mikey were both becoming US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certified that very day, in order to coach for YSF this Summer. We additionally honored our assisting coaches and program volunteers for the year.

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