Summer is right around the corner, and youngsters hoping to gain a little bit of nautical knowledge are already making plans to participate in the second annual Junior Sailing Camp, returning to Captiva Island Yacht Club this June and July.
"We're getting some really good response — the word-of-mouth from last year's campers has helped a lot," said Chris Heidrick, chairman of the Sailing Committee at the Yacht Club and coordinator of the Junior Sailing Camp. "It's a very short summer this year, and we've got a lot of interest from people who aren't from around here."
According to Heidrick, one woman from Georgia called to inquire about the camp, open to children ages 8 to 16 of all experience levels. The woman has already enrolled her twin sons in the camp, noting that her family is planning their summer vacation around the CIYC activity.
“My two teenage kids went to Sailing Camp at the Captiva Island Yacht Club last summer and had a fantastic time," reported Blanaid Colley, a resident of Sanibel. "They were taught all the skills needed to sail, to drive a motor boat and even to kayak with great confidence in just two weeks. We do not own a boat ourselves, so both kids were at the basic learning stage, but they finished the camp with full confidence and even got to take their boaters license test."
The only qualification for participation in the Junior Sailing Camp is successfully completing a swim test (50 yard swim, tread water, put on a PFD in the water and swim back 50 yards wearing the PFD). Families do not need to belong to the Yacht Club to participate in the camp.
"We try to make the camp both educational and fun," added Heidrick. "By the time they finish the course, all of the campers will not only be able to handle a boat by themselves, but will have an improved level of confidence when out on a boat."
The first session this year will run Monday, June 13 to Thursday, June 23. The second session will run Monday, July 18 to Thursday, July 28. Drop-off at the Yacht Club is between 8:45 and 9 a.m.; pickup is 4 p.m. each day.
At the conclusion of each session, students will be certified in power boat safety, be able to properly handle a kayak and be able to demonstrate their newly-acquired sailing and marine skills at Parents & Friends Day.
"The kids learn how to work together as a team," said Heidrick, who noted that rigging, navigating and tying knots will also be taught during the program. "After last year's camp, I saw autonomous teamwork. The campers were doing things naturally, helping each other out."
The Captiva Island Yacht Club is the organizer/sponsor of the program while Edison Sailing Center will manage the program and provide instruction.
"Essentially, we're offering the same program as last year," Heidrick explained. "But last year, everybody was starting from square one. This year, some of the experienced campers will be able to go out on the water more often."
The cost to enroll is $600 per session ($300 per week). Each child will be assigned their own sailboat (Optimist Pram, Sunfish or Laser) and their own kayak. There will be a certified instructor for every three to five students. Each child will need to provide their own Personal Floatation Device (PFD), lunches/snacks/drinks, sunscreen, hat and water-shoes (swim shoes, sailing booties or Crocs).
"I would thoroughly recommend this sailing camp — it is fun, educational and was a great way to spend two weeks on the waters of Sanibel and Captiva," said Colley. "Both of my children enjoyed it so much that they will be taking part in the sailing camp again this summer.”
Bridgit Stone-Budd, director of marketing for the Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce, said that all three of her children who participated last summer will be enrolled in this year's camp.
"Now we can take the boat out as a family... and I don't have to do a thing," Stone-Budd quipped. "My kids know more about boating than even we do as adults. They even correct us — 'Mom, it's not a rope. It's a line!'"
Heidrick also said the sailing camp also gives parents another alternative in choosing camps for their children.
“We’re so lucky to have so many options for summer camp,” he added. “It’s one more way for the child to enjoy the atmosphere where we live.”
Enrollment is limited, so enroll early to ensure selection of your preferred session. Currently, there are 12 spots available during the June session and just four spots open in July.
For enrollment forms or additional information, call Lauren Davies at 472-9627 or e-mail info@CaptivaIYC.net or call Chris Heidrick at 579-0660 or e-mail Chris@SanibelInsurance.com.
Last year's Junior Sailing Camp, conducted at the Captiva Island Yacht Club, included 12 participants. This year, each session has been expanded to accommodate 16 campers.
Fact BoxTo Go
Captiva Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp
Session 1 — June 13 to 23
Session 2 — July 18 to 28
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Captiva Island Yacht Club
15903 Captiva Drive
For more information
Lauren Davies, 472-9627
Chris Heidrick, 579-0660