A group of enthusiastic young sailors spent last week learning about water safety, sailing, and life.
“It’s a good experience for the kids, it’ll help build their confidence,” said one of the supervisors of a group from Carrier-Sekani.
The Mobile Optimist Sailing School (MOSS) teaches kids between the ages of six and 15 some basics on the ground, some essential water safety and then takes them out on the water to try their hand at sailing small boats.
MOSS is a program offered by BC Sailing, and the long-term goal is to help local sailing clubs develop their own self-sustaining school over about a five year period.
The hope is that kids who really take to the program and show leadership abilities will then work towards becoming sailing instructors themselves.
While the past week did have some rough winds, they still had a good time, according to Sam Benson, a sailing instructor with MOSS. Benson had been teaching the program in the Yukon before coming to the Fort, and he and the other instructor were billeted locally with members of the sailing club.
While we spoke, Benson passed off leadership of the group he was leading in a game to one of his students, an older youth who Benson said already showed promise.
Another sailing student, Starla Alexis, from Prince George, was already thinking about one day trying to teach her new skills to others, she enjoyed the school so much.
“I liked it a lot ‘cause it’s new to me and I like to learn new things,” said Alexis.
There were 10 youth from Carrier-Sekani, which compromised about half the class. The other half was comprised of locals, and according to Benson, the school was filled up and turning people away, so next year they might add another week program.
Paul Inden, the president of the Stuart Lake Sailing Club, said they have three small boats for the kids to continue to practice their skills on, so they hope some of the students choose to continue with the sport and become involved in the club.
“Any one of us (from the sailing club) will take anyone out for a sail,” said Inden.
He was also very pleased to see all of the Carrier-Sekani group from the greater region, showing the program and the lake can attract a wider audience.