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Athletes Set Sail

Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center Receives Pioneer Grant from the US Sailing Association

Grant Supports Expansion of the Community Sailing Center’s Adaptive Watersports Program and Special Olympics Vermont Sailing Program –

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center recently received a $2,500 grant from US Sailing. The grant went toward the expansion of the Sailing Center’s Adaptive Watersports program (AWP) to implement a pilot program for sail training and competition with Special Olympics Vermont (SOVT) athletes. In addition, the CSC was able to support their partnership with VT Adaptive while also maintaining their AWP sailing participant numbers.

“The US Sailing Pioneer Grant was crucial as we worked to develop a new AWP pilot program and partnership with Special Olympics Vermont,” said Mark Naud, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center. “As the first sailing program for Special Olympics in the state of Vermont, we set an optimistic goal that we would train a group of athletes who had never sailed. By the end of the program, five participants sailed competitively in the Rhode Island Special Olympics Regatta in September.”

In June, the CSC held an open house for interested athletes from SOVT to come down and experience Lake Champlain aboard one of the center’s adaptive watercrafts. At the end of the open house, seven participants (five Special Olympics Vermont athletes and two partners) signed up for a five-week training program where sailors met weekly for a 3-hour course. The CSC and SOVT worked together to create and implement a curriculum that provided sailors with the experience and support they needed to succeed.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Community Sailing Center to offer an additional sport to our athletes,” says Lisa DeNatale, President and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont. The organization already offers sixteen statewide competitions in twelve Olympic-type sports for athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities throughout the year. “It’s a real testament to the determination and resourcefulness of the adaptive sports community here in Vermont that a grant like this can jumpstart an entire new sports program.”

The CSC and SOVT look to build upon the success of this pilot program and anticipate that the SOVT/CSC sailing teams will continue in 2016 with more opportunities for regional competition.

A cornerstone of the Burlington community, the Sailing Center is a non-profit organization that provides lake access to over 6,000 people each year regardless of age, ability or income and encourages the responsible use and long-term stewardship of Lake Champlain through educational and recreational programs.

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center is honored to be a recipient of the U.S. Sailing Pioneer Grant Program, which provides funding to sailing programs that wish to offer adaptive sailing to individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities but lack the resources to do so.

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About Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center: A community-based non-profit organization, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center encourages and celebrates the responsible use and long-term stewardship of Lake Champlain by providing the community with educational and recreational access to Lake Champlain. The Community Sailing Center (CSC) is a vital community resource on the Burlington Waterfront that serves over 5,000 people each year through award winning programs, which use human powered watercraft as a medium to instill a sense of ownership in one of Vermont’s most important natural resources. A cornerstone of the Burlington community for 20 years, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center inspires lake stewardship, provides universal access to the lake and is helping preserve the beauty of Lake Champlain for future generations. To learn more about the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, please visit: www.CommunitySailingCenter.org.

About the U.S. Sailing Pioneer Grant Program: The Pioneer Grant Program was created with the intention of providing funding to sailing programs that wish to offer adaptive sailing to individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities but lack the resources to do so. Any organization that has indicated a successful track record with sailing education and is looking to either begin, or expand, an adaptive sailing program is eligible for a Pioneer Grant. Preference will be given to those programs that focus on populations that have no prior experience with sailing or marine education or that are recognized as a US Sailing Community Sailing Center or Accredited Keelboat School.  US Sailing will award a total of $15,000 in grant funding. No grant award will exceed $5,000 and all recipients must secure matching funds. – See more at: http://www.ussailing.org/education/adaptive-sailing/grants

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