The first official day of fall has come and gone. Kids are back in school, tans are starting to fade and instead of shuttling kids to camps, parents are dropping kids at practice and after school activities. In turn, camp counsellors and administrators are finally getting a chance to breathe, putting away and winterizing, all while reminiscing on the amazing summer they just had. We connected with one such camp administrator to hear about their summer and more specifically how RS Sailing boats helped shape their summer camp.
Sara Farrow is the Director of Marketing and Recruitment at Camp Manito-wish, a YMCA camp in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. The camp offers two, 3-week sessions for 5th to 9th grade students. The first 3-week session is the boys camp and runs until mid-July. The second session is girls camp and goes from mid-July until early August. We asked Sara if she could give us some insight into how their camp uses their RS Zests and the impact sailing has on campers.
“The sailing program at Camp Manito-wish YMCA makes waves – literally and figuratively!” Sara tells us. “Sailing, a perennial favorite among campers, soared to the third spot in the ranking of favorite program areas in 2023.”
But what is it about sailing that captivates the hearts and minds of campers? Often summer camp is an opportunity for kids to try new things and test out activities and hobbies that they otherwise wouldn’t get to enjoy; for campers at Camp Manito-wish the same sentiment holds true. “For many campers, the appeal of sailing at Camp Manito-wish YMCA goes far beyond the thrill of the open water. It’s often the first opportunity they’ve had to dip their toes into the world of sailing. In a world dominated by screens and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the chance to learn this age-old skill in a serene, natural setting is a rare and cherished experience.”
While many summer camps include activities like arts & crafts and drama, the most common programs focus heavily on nature. Aside from sailing, campers can enjoy canoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding and more! For Sara, one of the best intersections between sailing and summer camp comes with the closeness to nature. “Sailing at camp offers a unique chance for campers to connect with the elements and learn a skill that can open doors to a lifetime of adventure. It’s more than just a pastime; it’s an education in self-sufficiency, navigation, and harnessing the power of the wind. Campers leave with newfound knowledge that can’t be found in a classroom or a textbook.” One core focus of RS Sailing is sustainability, both environmental and social. RS Sailing works hard to promote an environmentally friendly sport and develop conscientious sailors, teaching them to respect the environment and remain lifelong learners.
One of the greatest benefits of youth sailing is the chance to work with others and interact with other kids. Sailing with a partner or group teaches kids the importance of teamwork and collaboration. However, sailing also encourages self-improvement; working towards individual goals and growing individual skills. Sailing at summer camp is no different. Sara explains how Camp Manito-wish works to combine individual and group programming.
“We understand the importance of balance, and that’s why sailing is not only a solo endeavour but also a communal one. Campers have the chance to experience sailing in two distinct ways:
-Cabin Activity: Campers can choose sailing as their cabin activity, where they sail together with their entire group. This fosters teamwork, communication, and a sense of unity as they navigate the waters as one.
-Coaching Period: During coaching periods, campers have the freedom to select sailing as their individual choice. This personalized experience allows them to delve deeper into sailing skills, building self-confidence and independence. As they learn to command a sailboat, make decisions on the water, and navigate challenges, they develop a profound sense of self-assurance that extends far beyond the shoreline.”
Summer camps like Camp Manito-wish offer kids a unique opportunity beyond just learning to sail. Where else do you learn how to shoot a bow and arrow and then immediately go and jump in a sailboat?
But it’s not just about the RS Zests at Camp Manito-wish. There are plenty of other summer camps that use RS Sailing boats. With a wide range of training boats available, RS Quests and the RS Toura are some of RS Sailing’s most popular boats for camps due to the ability to adjust the boat to the size and ability of the sailors.
Perhaps the biggest reason that summer camps choose to use RS Sailing boats is their common goal of introducing kids to new activities and hobbies. One of the pivotal goals of RS Sailing is to increase participation in the sport. Summer camp is the perfect place for kids to dip their toes into the sport of sailing and hopefully find a new passion that will last a lifetime. We can’t wait for the next camp season already!