Youth Program Summer Livin’

In Youth by Lauren Saalmuller

With nearly 200 Boston kids and 75 instructors and teachers pouring onto Pier 4 each day, summer at Courageous has finally arrived! I’ve been waiting to experience the youth program in action ever since joining the Courageous team in January. We’re now two weeks in, and I’m proud to be part of the goings-on at Courageous. The pier is full of energetic kids from Boston and surrounding areas all laughing—and learning—together.

On Day 1, returning student Eliel immediately approached me to say hello. With a toothy grin, he shared tales of catching crabs with his classmates, swimming in Boston Harbor, fish painting with our partners, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, and learning how to tack and gybe a Rhodes 19.

He wasn’t the only one. After watching kids run from one outdoor classroom to another, one thing was clear to me: they love being here. Every child I spoke to, even the shy and nervous ones, was ready to dive in, make friends, and tackle the next project, whether it was building paper wind turbines or learning to row with Hull/Boston Rowing Center.

Beautiful, a Step 3 student, was particularly excited about taking the Harbor head-on and sailing to Spectacle Island this week. Our instructors-in-training, most of whom grew up in the program, said that Courageous has had, and continues to have, an enormous impact on their confidence, their sailing and teaching skills, and ultimately, their lives.

Even watching Courageous staff—our management team who preps for the program all winter, our fearless front desk staff who are not only the first face for students and parents but also man the VHF and handle any situation thrown at them, and our passionate, skilled teachers—has been inspiring. Sailing brings our community together, and our staff is truly beginning to reflect our diverse group of students.

After seeing the youth program in action, there’s no doubt as to why Courageous’ teaching model works: sailing, combined with out-of-school education programs, provides opportunities for leadership, team-building, and personal development, making it a powerful platform for learning, and we strive for ever-improving results. Of course, none of what we do is possible without our Courageous community, so thank you for supporting us and taking part in the Courageous story.