"Sailing is fun;” “I liked getting wet;” “I laughed when the other boat flipped over;” were just a few of the responses St. Maarten Yacht Club Sailing School instructor Reinier Calkhoven heard when he asked a group of future sailors how they liked being on the boats. Thirteen children from the Little League’s Player Development program were treated to an afternoon of free sailing.
“The mission of the St. Maarten Yacht Club is to promote sailing, this is done through sailing lessons and events year-round,” said Michele Korteweg, General Manager of the Yacht Club. Money raised from the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is used to give sailing school scholarships and to introduce new people to the sport.
Player Development was one of several youth organizations invite to sail this year. Player Development is an afterschool program that places emphasis on reading, writing, good behaviour then it is time for sport.
The afternoon started with a quick briefing on rules and safety. Life jackets were passed out and secured in place and inspected. The children were divided into small groups and then headed to the boats. Forty-five minutes later the boats returned. The children were laughing, smiling and were wet. At the de-briefing Calkhoven asked if the children were nervous. Slowly every hand went up.“I am so proud of you.” He continued, “there is a valuable lesson here. It is ok to be nervous about doing something new… but don’t let that stop you from trying.”