The Boy Scouts of America has a division called "Sea Scouts", and the Girl Scouts has a division called "Mariners". These are great entry points into sailing.
The Sea Scouts, ages 14 - 20, are coed teaching leadership and teamwork using sailing as the tool. Adults can join and learn sailing too and become leaders. Each group is called a "Ship" and charges a separate $15 a year fee to BSA, and has a major fundraiser in April which establishes their budget for the coming year. Additionally some have $5 Ship dues (snacks and water at meetings or sailing). Most meet weekly, some twice a week in season. Some hold meetings every other week or once a month during winter months.
Some Ships own or use large sailboats (described below), others own some small dinghy sailboats, others use local Yacht Club small dinghy sailboats in their training programs.
Older Scouts teach the younger Scouts the skills, and some race, some cruise, and when long distance overnight cruises occur on the big boats, going on these adventures are encouraged to all Scouts. Sailing competitions occur between the groups, and also have other fun activities of knot tying, leaky bucket relay, tug a war in the snow in winter, etc.
When the Christmas Tree Ship comes to Chicago (a United States Coast Guard Vessel loaded with Christmas Trees for the under-privileged), the experience first begins with a sleepover the night before on the Columbia Yacht Club Ship, a 372' Icebreaker, in Monroe Harbor which includes dancing, karaoke, with a maximum of 250 Scouts (from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois). The next morning the Scouts unload the Christmas trees by hand off the USCG Vessel onto awaiting trucks.
Sea Scout Ship 5111 "Challenge"
@ Columbia Yacht Club, Monroe Harbor, Chicago IL
Ship 5111 owns a Tripp 47' Sailboat by the name of Nautilus. While it is chartered out for the Chicago Mackinac Race each year, the Sea Scouts travel up to Mackinac Island to bring their boat back to Chicago cruising down the length of Lake Michigan.
Sea Scout Ship 2008
@ Corinthian Yacht Club Sails from Montrose Harbor, Chicago, IL. Ship 2008 uses a 35' J/35 sailboat which they maintain and sail.
Sea Scout Ship 5212 "Neptune"
@ Jackson Park Yacht Club, Sails from Jackson Park Outer Harbor, Chicago, IL. Ship 5212 owns Reflections III, a 40' Ketch which they maintain and sail.
Sea Scout Ship 5709
Rickover Naval Academy Sails from Montrose & Belmont Harbors, Chicago, IL. This is a "closed Ship" which means that it is open only to students from the Rickover Naval Academy.
Sea Scout Ship 5870 “Privateer”
@ Chicago Yacht Club Sails from Belmont Harbor, Chicago, IL. It uses a 33' Tartan 10 sailboat owned by CYC for Scout purposes.
Sea Scout Ship 5886 - Jesus People USA, a modern day 1960's commune and church.
This is a "closed Ship" which means that it is open only to members of JPUSA. Sails from Montrose Harbor, Chicago, IL. Ship 5886 uses a 35' J/35 sailboat which they maintain and sail.
Sea Scout Ship 5924 "Finity’s End"
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sails from Jackson Park Outer Harbor, Chicago, IL and owns a 40' Ketch named "Reflections III."
Sea Scout Ship 5926
Immaculate Conception Church, Sails from Montrose & Monroe Harbors, Chicago, IL.
Sea Scout Ship 5750
@ Racine Yacht Club, Racine, WI, sails from Racine Harbor.
Wilmette Mariners Girl Scouts
Sails from Wilmette Harbor, Wilmette, IL. This high school age Girl Scout troop has an emphasis on sailing. They own a 22' Arrow sailboat in Wilmette Harbor, and are primarily a summer program. They have been in existence for over 60 years, serving girls after their 7th grade through high school. They offer sailing outings on Tuesday nights and lessons on Thursday nights. The outings are included in the $40 registration fee; the lessons are an additional $70 for the 5 lessons. The girls can also go on a week-long sailing adventure aboard the Tall Ship Shenandoah, sailing out of Martha's Vineyard, MA. Their goal is to teach girls how to sail, and give them access to sailing and the water.
To make a direct connection, email the Mariner Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org
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