A record number of sailing instructors, coaches and program directors battled cold weather and an unexpected snow storm to be in Annapolis, Maryland, February 5-9 to attend US Sailing's National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS).
More than 230 people attended, which is 20% more than the previous year, and more than half of the attendees were there for the first time. US SAILING organizes the annual event to encourage people involved in sailing programs at any level to share ideas and learn more about sailing programs and instruction through seminars, meetings and networking.
Sessions covered a wide range of subjects, including how to encourage teenagers to stay in a sailing program, sailing opportunities for people with disabilities, and how to run a community sailing program. Joni Palmer, US SAILING Vice President and Director of the sailing program at the U.S. Naval Academy, coordinated the agenda content for the entire symposium as she has been doing successfully for several years. Seminars were led by various notable speakers from across the country. Participants also visited Annapolis-area sailing programs and schools. The unexpected snow storm on Friday forced the trip to the Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore to be postponed until Sunday, but that did not stop Kirk Culbertson from the Center from bringing his presentation to Annapolis and surprising participants with delicious food.
Positive feedback from event participants has been overwhelming. Thank you for organizing the NSPS,"
says Mike Mueller, seminar participant and sailing instructor at the Baltimore Community Sailing Center. "Please carry on with what appears to be the most significant contribution to sailing that is made each year."
The NSPS offers a unique opportunity to give awards to US SAILING volunteers who are committed to sailing programs and education. The Marty Luray Award, named for journalist Marty Luray who was a courageous promoter of public access sailing, was given to Dave Rayner for making great strides in furthering public access to sailing programs. The Captain Joe Prosser Award for excellence in sailing instruction was awarded to Bill Fox and the Chicago Yacht Club. And the Sail Training Service and Support Award in honor of Virginia Long was presented to Larry White, president of the Interscholastic Sailing Association.
For those who were not able to make it to the NSPS and are interested in catching up on everything they missed, US SAILING is offering a book containing handouts distributed at seminars for $50. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The NSPS is sponsored by Vanguard Sailboats.