Help us reach our fundraising goal of $30,000 by December 31st!
Letter from the Executive Director
In my ten years at Courageous, what has inspired me most are the daily reminders that sailing here truly makes a lasting impact on children’s lives. Through survey data, parent feedback, independent evaluations, and—most powerfully—the faces and voices of Courageous kids, we know that the youth we serve are building crucial life skills that will take them far beyond Boston Harbor.
As Executive Director, I’ve told the Courageous story thousands of times, but never as well as our best Courageous spokespeople: the young instructors who have been coming back summer after summer since first experiencing the thrill of sailing as little kids. I’m so happy to introduce you to Mikako, Lucas, and Victoria, three Instructors-in-Training who grew up in the program and are now giving back as teachers and role models to our younger kids. I invite you to hear more of their perspectives and catch a few of our season highlights, including the fantastic youth sailing community at Jamaica Pond and the work that our Swim Sail Science program is doing to help our kids become confident around water and in the classroom. It’s a testament to the fun, supportive environment of Courageous programs that over 75% of our current students want to follow in the footsteps of Lucas, Mikako, and Victoria and become instructors themselves!
In 2017, thanks to supporters like you, we provided more kids than ever before—1,145!—with opportunities for learning and growth. In 2018, we are aiming to serve even more Courageous kids, reduce the size of our waitlist, and continue to ensure that a family’s ability to pay is never a barrier to participation. To help make that possible, we’ve set a goal of raising $30,000 by midnight of December 31. I hope that you will join us in meeting that goal and supporting the next generation of Courageous kids.
Gratefully,Dave DiLorenzo Executive Director
Growing Up With
Many of our Instructors-in-Training and instructors know Courageous both as students and as staff, and this gives them unique perspectives on the impact Courageous has on the lives of kids. Mikako and Lucas grew up sailing at Jamaica Pond, while Victoria and her two sisters—one of whom became an instructor for our Swim Sail Science program—learned to sail at Courageous’s Charlestown site. All three are part of our Instructor-in-Training program, a 2-summer paid job training program in which 20 teens make the transition from student to teacher, developing their abilities to communicate, teach, lead, and inspire the next generation of Courageous kids--while building transferable job skills.
IITs spend the summer perfecting their sailing skills, learning and practicing the basics of teaching and youth development, shadowing veteran instructors, and eventually taking charge of instructing a boat of 3 children. We’re proud that virtually all of our IITs become Courageous instructors, as Mikako will next summer; the vast majority of our instructors were once Courageous kids. It’s a testament to the fun, supportive environment of our programs that over 75% of our current students want to follow in Lucas, Mikako, and Victoria’s footsteps and become instructors themselves.
- Lucas, Instructor-in-Training and former Courageous kid
- Mikako, Instructor-in-Training and former Courageous kid
- Victoria, Instructor-in-Training and former Courageous kid
Your support makes opportunities possible for the next generation of Courageous kids.
From the program’s inception, we knew that swimming lessons had to be a key component; 60-70% of black and Hispanic children cannot swim. At Courageous, we are committed to helping kids overcome this challenge so that they can advance in our sailing programs and become more confident on, in, and around the water. Our Swim Sail Science students take swimming lessons every day at the Charlestown YMCA, and many take winter lessons as well. This summer, we added daily swimming lessons for Swim Sail Science graduates who have continued to sail at Courageous.
For many of our kids, swimming was a fun and empowering part of their Courageous experience. One-fifth of Swim Sail Science students remembered swimming as the best part of the summer, and several named passing the Courageous swim test as their favorite memory. For the 45 Swim Sail Science graduates currently progressing through our more advanced sailing programs (with about 20 more joining each year), enjoying the water is now part of their lives.
– Swim Sail Science parent
Your support breaks down barriers for Courageous kids.
Building Life Skills & Community at
In 2017, in response to suggestions from students, staff, and parents, we were able to offer three sessions of “JP2,” a two-week intermediate/advanced sailing course that utilized our fleet of four fast, fun RS Quests. Our older, more experienced kids jumped at the opportunity to learn more advanced skills and fly spinnakers. With the guidance of their instructors, they also took on additional responsibilities for teaching younger sailors and caring for the fleet. In the words of Benjamin, the head JP2 instructor, “I could tell that the JP2 students took the idea of being role models to heart. I remember watching one of them coach a JP1 student through a capsize recovery, giving the younger student step by step instructions, as well as friendly encouragement, while the two worked to right their boat.”
With an emphasis on team building, reflection, and learning—not to mention a big dose of silliness—Jamaica Pond embodies the spirit of the Courageous community.