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Marine News from the Great Lakes

US Sailing Selects Columbia Sailing School of Chicago to Help Introduce Sailing to All Youth Regardless of Background

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2019

Since 1892, Columbia Yacht Club has been known as more than just a ship on the lake, a sailing organization, or a dining room. It has been known and continues to be celebrated as the club that fosters a deep sense of pride and camaraderie among its members, officers, and staff. More than this, the Columbia Yacht Club is proud to serve as the home for Chicago’s premier sailing school, The Columbia Sailing School. In 2018, Columbia Sailing School was named US Sailing’s “2018 Emerging Center of Excellence” for the Reach (STEM), and in 2019 it was named the “Midwest Center of Excellence.” In 2019 it was given the distinction of a US Sailing Accredited Community Sailing Center, meaning that it meets or exceeds all of US Sailing’s expectations in sailing programming.

Based on these successes, and the sailing school’s outreach to inner-city schools and organizations, US Sailing has selected Columbia Sailing School as the Midwest’s Primary Siebel Center, organized through the innovative Siebel Sailors Program. Only one of three Primary Siebel Centers in the country, the Center will carry out the mission of increasing diversity and opportunity in the sport of sailing by providing resources and support to youth sailors, regardless of socioeconomic background.

In April of 2019, US Sailing announced the new ground-breaking Siebel Sailors Program made possible by a major donation from the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation. The designated centers at locations throughout the country will support an important US Sailing objective of providing increased access to sailing for youth, and will receive a fleet of sail boats, other necessary equipment, and expert coaching.

Program Networks will include three to four community sailing centers: one Primary Siebel Center and additional Supporting Centers. The regional network of Supporting Siebel Centers for the Chicago Region will include the Jackson Park Yacht Club Foundation and Sheridan Shores Sailing School.

“Columbia Sailing School is very excited to have been selected as the Mid-West Siebel Sailors Center,” said Mike Korbel, Commodore of the Columbia Sailing School. “This is a great testament to the team who has been working on growing the program and furthering our community outreach. As we strive to keep program costs low, the Siebel grant provides more opportunity for us to include under-represented youth in sailing. We look forward to this opportunity to raise the awareness of sailing to newcomers and create more stewards for our waters.”

Siebel Sailors will have access to a range of sailing experiences and boat types, with the RS Feva XL as the primary boat. A US Sailing provided Siebel Coach will lead each region, providing instruction and mentoring to participating sailors. The goal is to retain new sailors in the sport by starting with a solid foundation of seamanship and safe boating, and providing ongoing opportunities to develop racing, leadership, and career skills.


tags: Lake Michigan, Yacht Club, Boat Club, Charity, Education, Feel Good Story, Kids & Pets

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