Over and over, we hear parents complain that their kids don’t want to sail, or that they can’t find the opportunities. Complaining makes you part of the problem; be like Brandon Flack and be part of the solution; here are Brandon and the MudRatz with some tips on getting kids into the game:
1. Identify a group of kids that want more sailing. Start a team with the premise that more time on the water together is good for everyone.
2. Do not duplicate, compete or conflict with local sailing programs that are already in your area. Choose times like Sunday nights in the spring and fall where there is no conflict with other sports. Strive to send the kids back to their local programs as better sailors and you will raise the bar for everyone!
3. Keep it affordable. Soccer & Baseball are normally about $150 for a season… strive to keep your costs and overhead low enough to match up with these other sports. Reaching out further then the elite kids will really grow your team.
4. Find a local sailing association or club that is willing to support your team with some seed money. All these associations are looking for ways to grow and you are going to provide it. Five hundred dollars here and there can go a long way.
5. Hire the best coaches “reasonable” money can afford. Hire the better summer coaches that are home from college or attending school nearby. Even good racing coaches in yacht club summer programs are less than $30 per hour. Coaches making a $100 every Sunday night is a great way to cover their bills from Friday and Saturday!
6. Find local clubs to act as your “host”. Spread the wealth around if you have a few clubs in your area. By running practices at new locations you will get new kids to sail with your team. As you move around you pick up more and more kids that come back each season after!
7. Offer parents deals on your program in exchange for using their whaler as a coach boat.
8. Join US Sailing and get your team into the burgee insurance program to cover officers and coaches. It’s not much for a small team.
9. Get the kids AND the parents together a few times away from the boats. Having the kids get to know each other off the water makes future meetings on the water that much more fun. Helping the newer non sailing parents to understand more about the sport by just sharing experiences goes a long way too.
10. Go sailing. Kids that sail as often as possible in a variety of conditions are naturally going to enjoy (and be better at racing in) those same conditions later. Keep it light and fun and they will be begging you for more.
Once you have all that come up with a cool team name and add in the uniforms, and then get on the computer and write a story for Sailing Anarchy to promote it! We’ve put together our MudRatz Opti raffle to win a brand new Zim Optimist; buy a ticket today and you’ll have a great chance of winning the Opti or one of the other prizes on June 15 – and thanks for your support!