The CWB has a long and involved history in the development of Youth Programs and the engagement of youth within the Seattle area. As a former participant of the program (11 years ago), the ability of the CWB to create and cultivate new members of the maritime world is of CWB Summer Wrap-Up Boardparamount importance to the CWB, the greater sailing community as a whole, and to me.

We seek to empower youth with a new set of skills apart from their peers, and give them the confidence and experience to make decisions and actively respond to unique and occasionally challenging situations. The development of these skills can instill confidence, and provide a special element to the lives of our youth and those with whom they interact.

Further continuing to build this confidence and skill set allows youth to more deeply engage in the maritime community. Yet it also greatly improves their ability to take a step outside their comfort zone and tackle adversity. Learning to sail for the first time isn’t always the easiest thing for someone of such a young age (average 8-14), and the trials they face will sometimes dishearten them, but it is always such a triumph when it clicks and they are able to overcome a particular obstacle.

Levels of Engagement

Learning to build a boatThe CWB primarily engages with youth participants on three levels. First, we engage on a large scale operation in the instruction of youth sailing across several levels: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. We also offer classes on Woodworking and Boatbuilding, for a different and unique angle to maritime heritage lost in many other organizations. These classes are open enrollment, with the upper level classes being reached through either instructor recommendation, prior experience, or sheer tenacity of the student at hand. This type of engagement is where we reach the greatest number of youth, and their perception and takeaway of the program is varied, especially at the lower level. As a general rule of thumb, participants in the Advanced class are encouraged to seek further opportunities in the sailing community, whether it be here through the Junior Instructor role, or elsewhere.

We also engage in partnerships with a number of organizations, such as the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of History and Industry, and various local schools (TOPS K-8, Morningside Academy, etc). These types of community outreach serve primarily to strengthen the CWB’s relationships with the partner organizations and introduce youth to the CWB.

The final level of youth engagement comes at the Junior Instructor or Program Assistant level. Each year we have a number of youth volunteers that assist in the delivery of the youth El Toro sailboats at the dockprograms and work to assist the Sailing Instructors in their day to day duties. These youth gain practical on-the-job experience, public speaking skills, and further responsibility as they become more knowledgeable.

We often draw from this pool of Junior Instructors when we are looking to hire new Sailing Instructors, providing a direct ladder for youth, some of whom may be considered underserved, to gain employment. This year we had 8 Junior Instructors, who in total contributed 760 hours of volunteer time.

Underserved or Disadvantaged Populations

The CWB is a non-profit organization and as such strives to expand access to the water and maritime culture and history to as wide a population as possible. This often means that CWB remains fiercely competitive with other sailing organizations to provide as reasonable of a price as possible. This being said, even with the CWB’s mission and commitment participants may not always be able to pay the full price of a class.

Pay What You Can is an extension of the CWB’s commitment to providing as wide an access as possible to the sailing world. This program allows participants to draw from scholarship funds contributed by outside organizations and funders, as well as participants who will sometimes overpay in order to donate to the program.

The Junior Instructor program also allows for youth who have been through our program to volunteer and build their skills at no cost while providing assistance to the instructors, and parents are aware that they will be supervised and engaged. Again, this opportunity provides practical job skills which could one day lead to an offer of employment.

In offering scholarships to underserved or disadvantaged populations this year I am pleased to say we served 35 unique participants, with a total of $6399.50 monies awarded. There were requests for scholarship across all levels of camps, both sailing and woodworking. These numbers do not include scholarships that were requested by field trip groups.

Summer Totals

This summer we were able to engage with 259 youth participants solely through CWB run and advertised programs, totaling 371 total youth participants after accounting for partner programs. Beginning Sailing was the most requested program in sailing, and the Youth Design and Build camp in Woodworking.

Concluding Thoughts

This year was a great year for Youth Sailing and Boatbuilding. With a greater focus on our operations on SLU, we were able to deliver a much better experience for youth participants and really focus in on what makes the CWB such a special place to learn sailing. Next year we hope to continue building the Junior Instructor program, strengthen our relationships with our partners, and enhance the delivery of our Sailing, Woodworking, and Boatbuilding programs.

El Toros sailing on Lake Union

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