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post #602
bio: jen
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5/8/2014
14:21

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Nauty Kids
As many of you know, I enjoy sailing boats. Last year, I started teaching kids who have never been on a sailboat before, and I recently wrote about it for the Women’s Sailing Association newsletter. Here is a highly revised version of what I wrote:

If you find yourself in Marina del Rey on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon in April and May, you might spot a twenty two foot sailboat in the main channel with a bunch of kids making a lot of noise. Don’t worry. They are not dying or even in trouble. They are learning about sailing in the Boys and Girls Club Afterschool Program.

When Captain Fran (yes, she’s really a Captain) asked me to volunteer last year, I was excited to be sailing, but I was unsure about sailing with kids. I am not a kid person. I don’t have kids, I don’t seek out kids, I am not Mary Poppins, I don’t play games all sorts. To me, kids are little creatures who eventually become adults at which time they have the potential to be interesting.

Then I got on a boat with some kids, and I realized that kids on boats are awesome. Maybe it’s because I feel pretty awesome on boats. Maybe it’s because kids don’t think as much as adults and trust their instincts more. Maybe it’s because I was a kid when I first went sailing. Or maybe I just respect that snacks are important.

This year I discovered that any moment on a sailboat has the potential for fun. We can spend a good twenty minutes working out what high side and low side weight means on a sailboat that’s heeling. They’re also fascinated by trash floating in the water. I don’t know why. They just are. By far, the biggest excitement came when they spotted dolphins. Oh wow, I don't know who called the dolphins, but their timing was excellent.

Some of the kids get into sailing and are actually learning. That’s exciting to see. In a few weeks, I've seen kids learn how to steer with a tiller or trim a jib. They all can tie excellent stopper knots too.

So if you see some kids on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon on boats, do not be alarmed. They’re just sailing and having fun. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.


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