Moving forward with the CYC Junior Program
Commodore John Rahn
Both the web survey and the discussion at our September 10th CYC “Town Meeting” have confirmed that CYC membership overwhelmingly supports forming a junior instructional program. In the coming weeks, I will be holding a meeting for CYC people who are interested in working on this effort. I expect the initial meeting will condense at subsequent meetings into a smaller number of people who can commit significant time and effort. This will become the nucleus of a Working Group of leaders that will plan and execute the formation of the program, and see to its ongoing operations in 2011.
We have been doing considerable research into every aspect of successful junior programs elsewhere. Jonathan Flack, whom our Nominations Committee has nominated to the CYC Board as incoming Junior Director, has spoken to the Executive Director of US Sailing to organize their help in this endeavor, and has entered an extended dialog with the leadership at Sail Newport (RI), one of the largest and most successful such programs in the country. He is also reaching out to a number of other successful programs around the US. We will be able to adapt their models to our situation, and form our own approach based their experiences.
Over the winter, we will determine the number of students we are likely to see next summer, and purchase an appropriate number of Optis and possibly also 420s. I am hoping and expecting that CYC members and the marine industry here will step up and donate the funds for the boats. We have an opportunity to buy between 8 and 24 Optis at only about $2500 each. These are racing Optis that were sailed in one regatta, then reconditioned by the manufacturer.
We are exploring a number of possibilities to make donations to our Junior program tax-deductible..
Probably the biggest challenge will be covering operational shortfall for the instructional program in the initial years. Typically, it takes perhaps 5 years after startup for such a program to come close to covering all its costs, which will include moorage, maintenance, and especially, staffing – we cannot do it all with volunteers.
This is an exciting initiative for me, not only because it will benefit young sailors and the sport of sailing, but because I already see evidence that the initiative is engaging the enthusiasm of CYC members – and prospective members — who have children. It is obvious that CYC should make the club an attractive place for sailing parents and their children to do things together.