Nearly 200 program directors, sailing instructors, and coaches were in Oakland, California at the end of January to attend US SAILING's National Sailing Programs Symposium sponsored by Vanguard Sailboats.
Nearly half of the participants attended the annual event for the first time. US SAILING organizes the event every year to encourage people involved in any type of sailing program to share ideas and learn more about sailing programs and instruction through seminars, meetings, and networking.
The five days at the Symposium were filled with educational seminars, hands-on sailing activities, and a surprise visit from famous actor and avid sailor John Amos. Sessions covered a wide range of topics, including promoting sailing at a grass roots level, fundraising for a sailing program, coaching youth racers, and much more. OCSC sailing school in Berkeley, Calif., opened its doors for a tour of the facilities, outdoor demonstrations, sailing, and a cookout.
The Symposium offers a unique opportunity to give awards to US SAILING volunteers who are committed to sailing programs and education throughout the year. The Marty Luray Award, named for journalist Marty Luray who was a courageous promoter of public access sailing, was given to Howard Haines of the Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation in Norman, OH, for making great strides in furthering public access to sailing programs. The Captain Joe Prosser Award for excellence in sailing instruction was awarded the U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Program and presented to Commander Gerard Vandenberg. And the Sail Training Service and Support Award in honour of Virginia Long was awarded to Art Stevens, a long-time US SAILING volunteer and regional training coordinator from El Segundo, CA.
Next year's National Sailing Programs Symposium will be held in Miami, FL, with exact dates to be determined. After nearly 20 years as successful agenda coordinator for the event, Joni Palmer, US SAILING Vice President, is stepping down. The agenda for the 2005 Symposium will be coordinated by Nan Walker of Arnold, Maryland.
For more information on the Symposium and to view pictures of this year's event, please visit the website at the address below.