On behalf of all our athletes, Unified Partners, Coaches, and families, let me express our great and sincere thanks to Courageous for hosting another wonderful season, and to you, Nate for that enjoyable end-of-season cookout last evening! I don't have to tell you how much everyone appreciated the event . . . . and your great grilling, Nate!

Towards the end, when we were thanking you, it was clear from the tears running down, that you were very moved by that appreciation (or maybe, just perhaps. . . . by the grill's smoke!).

It was a perfect evening, with some terrific sailing with good strong winds plus shifts. Another benefit of your cookout was it gave us all a chance to socialize together - which is not the norm in our weekly practices - people tend to arrive somewhat randomly, get out in their racing crews, and leave to get home, with conversations pretty much only within each boat. Thank you for making that happen, too!

Finally, let me repeat our huge and heartfelt thanks to the entire Courageous organization for the welcome you have continued to give us in hosting our SOMA Sailing Program each Wednesday for so many years. You have a wonderful venue, with a fleet of boats that are perfect for our athletes, and again, such a welcoming and supportive staff. We really appreciate it.

The bottom line for you, and for us, is in the progress all of our athletes have made. All have grown in sailing ability, and even more importantly, in self-confidence and self-esteem, as they've learned to manage the wind, waves, and tides, and to work together as a team. Prime examples are two of our athletes (and their crews) who have progressed from being absolute rookies with no sailing experience whatsoever, to participating and earning medals at the Special Olympics World Games, and who are now skippering their own Level III boats - that's with 3 athletes, and 1 partner (who can only coach but cannot so much as touch a sheet without disqualifying the boat!).

You all can join us in taking great pride in the accomplishments of our athletes! Thank you again, and please pass on our appreciation to your entire Courageous Team, and your Board.

Most sincerely, Jeff

in Racing

One of the most rewarding experiences for me as an environmental educator this summer was working with the Instructors in Training (IITs).  At Courageous, the IITs are high school students who have attended the summer youth program for many years or are interested in becoming a sailing instructor.

The environmental aspect of the IIT program has two main components: learning more about environmental science and learning how to teach environmental science.  Each week, on Tuesday afternoons, I facilitated a mini-lecture on the week’s topic (mammals, crustaceans, sharks, etc), then the IITs participated in hands-on activities or experiments to further understand the subject.  These lessons were appropriate for high school level learners, using proper vocabulary and themes.  However, the hands-on activities were always fun and allowed the IITs the chance to immerse themselves in the learning in a fully enjoyable way.

On Thursday afternoons, the IITs and I worked on how to teach environmental topics to their future sailing students. These lessons often involved half of the group of IITs pretending to be beginning sailing students and the other half of the IITs facilitating an environmental activity for them.  Sometimes the lessons focused more on how to talk to students about nature and the outdoors while sailing.

I had a great time working with the IITs this summer.  Their energy and willingness to learn were a true inspiration.  I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to lead future instructors in becoming more environmentally aware and  more eager to teach environmental education to their students.

in Green