Seneca Sailing Academy in Geneva Wins Grant Award from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports at Rochester Area Community Foundation
The Seneca Sailing Academy, hosted by the Seneca Yacht Club, on Boody’s Hill Road in Geneva, has been awarded a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation at the Rochester Community Foundation to offer scholarships for an additional 18 openings to make sailing lessons more accessible to local youth. This is one of the first grants by the Foundation to a group in the Finger Lakes, and the first for an on-water youth recreation program.
The Seneca Sailing Academy (SSA) has been offering sailing lessons at the Seneca Yacht Club (SYC) since it’s founding in 1929. Originally called the “Junior Sailing Program” at SYC, lessons were primarily for club member families, but as the program evolved it has grown well beyond to include a majority of students coming from the Geneva community and beyond.
“When we realized that we were effectively a community sailing program, we wanted to make sailing lessons available to as many kids as possible”, said Cheryl Gindling, Chair of the SSA Board. “As the only sailing program on northern Seneca Lake, the “Junior Sailing Program” was reorganized five years ago as a separate nonprofit organization, the Seneca Sailing Academy, to support more kids participating in the program.”
“Our first community outreach was in 2015 when we partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva” said Gindling, “Our members donated funds for the scholarships and we had five kids join the program from B&GC…it was fantastic and we all loved it.”
One of the lessons learned in the process is that neither the Seneca Yacht Club nor Seneca Sailing Academy is well known if you’re not a sailor. “We’ve never advertised or promoted our programs…just word of mouth marketing” said Dave Galleher, Commodore of the SYC. “We’ve had scholarship funds available for the past two years but getting the word out to invite kids to apply for scholarships has been a new challenge. Reaching out beyond our members hasn’t been done before”. This grant will fund community outreach and awareness in addition to providing new scholarships for 18 local kids!”
Gindling added, “What is also not well known is that when you sail at our Camps and at weekly club racing, you’re sailing with some of the best sailors in the area. The “Junior Sailors” we trained over the decades have become award winning racers all over and even internationally.” Local sailing races are hosted each Sunday morning, and although it’s a very friendly group, said Gindling “when you’re out on Seneca Lake enjoying the water and doing your best, even if you don’t win it’s good to know you’re racing against some of the best in the country” “My family has been sailing here in Geneva generations, and have traveled all over the country to compete in regattas, and some of the toughest competition is Sunday mornings right here on Seneca Lake.”
Summer Sailing Camps are one week each, and there are eight Camps through the summer, from June 25th through August 17th.
Seneca Sailing Academy is hosted by the Seneca Yacht Club, Boody’s Hill Road in Geneva, NY
This grant will make sailing lessons more accessible to a wide variety of youth that otherwise might not consider sailing. With the Finger Lakes as our backyard, we want to get as many kids and families on the water as possible.
Also, scholarships will be available on a rolling basis throughout the season, until the funding is fully allocated, to kids that take beginning lessons and would love to progress quickly through intermediate level and possibly then on to our racing team. We have a team of racers that travel to other clubs in the region for interclub competitions.
To apply for a Scholarship visit the Seneca Sailing Academy at www.senecasailingacademy.org to learn more about which Sailing Camp may be best for you, then click on the Scholarship Application link on the Registration page.
Applications can also be directly downloaded at…
http://senecasailingacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SSA-Scholarship1.pdf, or call 315-577-3976 and we’ll send an application.