Muskegon County kids learn to sail indoors

Sailing basics like knot tying and steering were taught to children with the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore Wednesday night.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — It’s not boating season right now in West Michigan, but more than a dozen children were on the water Wednesday night to learn the basics of sailing at the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore. 

The pool at the clubhouse was filled with mini sailboats, powered by industrial fans.

“It was really fun, just like learning how to control the sailboat and the different windspeeds,” Malia Anderson, seventh grader, says.

The clubhouse partnered with the Muskegon Yacht Club this week to teach sailing basics to kids both big and small. The lesson included knot tying and steering.

“I was kind of nervous, but it was really fun once you got the hang of it,” Anderson says.

For these kids, it was their first time sailing.

“It was so encouraging to know how to move the sail and learn what the wind direction is going, and hang with your friends,” seventh grader Chloe Miller says. “The Boys and Girls Club has opened up large experiences for me to go and do those things.”

The youth sailing program is a first for the Boys and Girls Club. 

“This opens up so many doors for our kids to eventually experience the lake in a different way,” Aquatics Director Robin Dennany says. 

The goal is to open up new opportunities to children who otherwise might not be able to sail on their own.

“The important part of coming here to the Boys and Girls Club is that the youth are the future of sailing,” Kim Blum with the Muskegon Yacht Club says. “They’re the ones we want to get on the boats and spark that passion to be on the water.”

The two organizations hope to help the kids create positive experiences with water.

“It’s such a vital resource that we have, and it’s unique to communities across the country,” Dennany says.

At the end of the day, the program is all about building these kids up.

“The feeling of success is something we’ll pull back to as they experience more challenges in their lives,” Dennany says.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore is working on future dates with the Muskegon Yacht Club within the next month to get more kids out on the water. 

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