SPSC launches Special Needs Sail Training program

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

On Friday, August 14th, the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) hosted the first ever Special Needs Sail Training Program session. With equipment being provided by the Belize Sailing Center, one island child living with a disability was trained in Optimist sailing techniques. The Special Needs Sail Training session was a collaborative effort between SPSC and Ambergris Caye Camp Starfish.33 Special Needs Sailing
“When Lara Goldman from Camp Starfish approached us about starting such a program, I was instantly ‘on board’ with this incredible initiative,” said Director of Training for the SPSC, Andy Milner. Once Milner and Goldman realized that it was possible to teach special needs children to sail, they coordinated with Sarah Freudenberg, Director of Special Needs Education Program at Ambergris Caye Elementary School to identify the first recipient. “Freadenberg’s personal experience with the selected children was instrumental in creating this opportunity. With her guidance and support, I was able to communicate effectively with the student, who has a learning disability, creating the first of many successful sailing memories for all involved,” said Milner.
With aims of brining the world of sailing to all children of San Pedro, SPSC saw the opportunity to expand their reach by teaching special needs youth, which would normally be out of reach. “Sailing is universal, the skills transcend just sailing, and if we can help teach these children some useful skills, well, then we have reached our goal,” explained Milner. The goal of the club is to instill in the children the principles of sailing that will provide them with global opportunities not only within the sailing community but in life in general.
Following the first lesson, members of the Special Needs Sailing Training team met to discuss next steps for the program. Two additional children have been selected to beta test the program. The team members have indicated that participating is this program is as much a pleasure for themselves as it appears to be for the children.

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