Not every sailing opportunity happens in a small boat, at a yacht club, or between the hours of 9am and 5pm. What's great about sailing is that there are so many avenues available to enjoy the activity. Sleep away camps, sail training, traditional boat building, and environmental education are a handful of the other ways that youth might connect to sailing.
Sail Training and Sea Scouts
The Sea Scouts are part of the BSA and are fully co-ed. The Seattle area Sea Scouts have several ships, which are a mix of sail and power. They also have a group dedicated to sailing small boats, mostly out of Lake Union.
The Tacoma Youth Marine Center supports local Sea Scouts and also offers educational and maritime trade programs at its facility on Foss Waterway near downtown Tacoma. The Sea Scout Ship Odyssey is based at TYMC. The Odyssey cruises the San Juans during the summer and provides leadership and sail training opportunities for dozens of local scouts each year.
Aside from a small fleet of dinghies the Everett Sea Scouts also own two larger keelboats. They engage in a combination of overnights, day sails, extended cruises, and local races. The Sea Scouts are an entirely volunteer run organization. An emphasis is put on leadership and character development. Becoming a Bosun in Sea Scouts is equivalent to Eagle Scout. Several of the Everett Sea Scout members also participate in high school sailing, where they practice at Silver Lake.
The Sea Scout Ship City of Roses is based in Portland. They have a similar mission as the other Sea Scout programs. Learn to sail, to row, and to keep a boat in shape; you can cruise local waters or go sailing on long cruises far from home. Learn to Scuba dive and take care of boats. Enjoy camping, social events, tours, regattas, excursions, and seamanship contests. Learn the maritime skills that can lead to a career later on.
The 168' Schooner Zodiac is based out of Bellingham and regularly cruises the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands with groups of all ages and backgrounds. During the school year Zodiac partners with school and youth groups to provide kids with educational adventures under sail. Zodiac is part of the American Sail Training Association.
Sound Experience is a non-profit organization based out of Port Townsend. Sound Experience puts an emphasis on marine science and ecology. The 112' schooner Adventuress does regular day sail trips with youth and school groups from around Puget Sound. For teens and families there are also overnight and multi-day expeditions. Sailing on the 100 year old schooner is an exhilarating and educational experience.
Since 1996 Salish Sea Expeditions has been guided by it's mission... "Inspiring students to develop critical thinking and creativity through student-led scientific research on Puget Sound." Over the years thousands of students from Tacoma to the San Juans have learned about sailing and the watery world around them. Salish Sea Expeditions works in partnership with Camp Four Winds Westward Ho, using their 61' Yawl Carlyn in the "off" season.
Camps that offer Sailing
YMCA Camp Orkila is located on Orcas Island and is part of the Seattle YMCA. This overnight camp offers team exploration programs for youth grades 8-12. One and two week expeditions around the San Juan Islands are done aboard camp owned J24s and Solings. Sailors may spend some nights aboard the boat, but most often sail to a destination to make camp for the night.
Camp Seymour is located on the Key Peninsula about 20 minutes from Gig Harbor. They have an excellent waterfront facility on Glen Cove, where they have a variety of small sailing dinghies along with lots of paddle equipment. Sailors may sign up for a sailing focused course where instruction time is built into their camp experience.
Camp Four Winds is situated in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. Waterfront programming is an essential part of this overnight camp. There is a large dock with a variety of smaller sailboats.
This day camp in Edmunds has a fleet of sailboats that it incorporates into many of its camps and activities. They have a variety of boards and paddle sports in addition to sailcraft.