From the Executive Director
When I joined Courageous in the summer of 2007 as the youth program racing coach, my biggest challenge was our youngest racer, Emily. Full of promise but short on attention span, she seemed to specialize in undoing the best-laid lesson plans. Whether off collecting jellyfish during chalktalks, or jumping out of her boat during a race to go for an unannounced swim, she had a knack for doing things her own way. There was no arguing with the amount of fun she was having, but it was not exactly the kind of race training I had in mind.
That summer, and every summer since, Courageous provided Emily with opportunities to grow and develop her skills–and she did. In 2011 she graduated from our Instructor-in-Training program, and just completed her second year as a full-fledged instructor. This season, when one of our younger students was struggling with some difficult issues in her life, she turned to Emily. It wasn't an easy situation, but Emily responded with sensitivity and maturity that made all the difference.
For me, seeing Emily grow through the Courageous program–becoming not just a great sailor but a role model, mentor, and teacher who is able to give back and make a difference in the lives of our youngest Courageous kids–is what it's all about. This fall, Emily just started her freshman year at URI, where she has–no surprise–joined the sailing team.
This summer was full of countless similar moments. There is a long, long list of Courageous kids– Maia, Matt, Adam, Colleen, Liz, Jack, Sara, Kayla, Alexis, Griffin, Morgan, Luke, Ian, Will, Mikaya, Kelsey, Amy, Anthony, Claire, Audrey, Leo, Kieran and so many more–who, in what feels like the blink of an eye, have become incredible leaders and role models.
This season we have so much to celebrate. We were again a major partner for the award-winning Boston Summer Learning Project. We received our biggest grant ever from the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, enabling us to dramatically improve our outreach to underserved communities and launch an exciting new program that combines swimming, sailing, and marine science classes for 60 rising fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students from the nearby Harvard-Kent school in Charlestown.
As I head into my seventh year at Courageous and my second year as director, I am moved beyond words by the accomplishments of the Courageous community over the past 26 years. One person at a time, one act of generosity at a time, we have built one of the country's leading organizations dedicated to using sailing as a platform for growth, learning, and empowerment. I hope you will join me in continuing to support the Courageous mission.
Dave DiLorenzo, Executive Director