US Sailing starts new youth educational initiative

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US Sailing, the national governing body of the sport, announced the launch of a new youth initiative designed to use sailing as an educational tool.

The Reach Program uses sailing as a platform to enable middle school-aged youth of all backgrounds to embrace education, establish a love of learning and explore productive science, technology, engineering and math-based careers.

The Reach Program connects educators, sailing instructors, engineers and scientists with today’s youth to provide them with a one-of-a-kind learning experience, giving students the opportunity to apply classroom learning in a cooperative work environment. Through the leadership of US Sailing the program provides resources, connections and national partnerships to support organizations and individuals that utilize sailing as an educational tool connecting youth nationwide to the sport of sailing.

"Sailing is a great platform for building self-confidence and leadership and it’s a natural partnership with science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” US Sailing executive director Jack Gierhart said in a statement. “Community sailing centers are the perfect place to launch this type of programming. We’ve seen how successful they’ve been in working with people from all different backgrounds. That success, combined with the curriculum-specific focus of the Reach Program, opens the door for a whole new educational opportunity.”

“Students will apply classroom learning in the field, collect real-time data on wind, current and water quality. They will analyze the data and become innovators by designing new solutions to the current problems in boat design environmental issues, wind energy and underwater exploration,” US Sailing Reach Program manager Jessica Servis said in a statement.

Phase one of the program includes 10 lesson plans that range from wind and simple machines to robotics and marine science.

The modules tightly align with Common Core Standards and the K-12 Framework for Science Education for middle-school students. Five programs across the nation administered the program during the fall of 2012, including the Community Boating Center in Rhode Island, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center in Vermont, Life Sail in California, the Edison Sailing Center in Florida and New England Science and Sailing in Connecticut.

Phase two will be project-based, including a national competition engaging middle-school students in the engineering-by-design process.

Click here for the full release.

Contact Jessica Servis at jessicaservis@ussailing.org to get involved.

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