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Hello to our Sailing Program Parents!
2014 program runs Monday June 30th to Thursday August 21st.

An update on the Squantum Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program plans for the upcoming season. More information will follow.

For the first time ever - Squantum Sailing has registered with the Quincy Health Department as a "camp." We are working very hard - particularly Rob Dolbec, to bring the program into full compliance with both city and state summer camp laws and regulations. This is quite a bit of work this first time out - but we believe that it will be well worth the effort. As a part of the program registration, we are establishing protocols and policies for the operation of the program and the safety and protection of the participants.

We (Rob Dolbec) were required to draft for adoption: a staff background check policy; a health care policy; a discipline policy; a fire evacuation plan; disaster plan; a lost participant plan and more. I think all parents will appreciate the benefit to the program by submitting to the "camp" regulations. It is after all for the safety of the kids.

The instructors are being certified as US Sailing level 1 instructors and each will be trained in CPR and first aid. Jill and Lilly are returning as instructors, Jill will be head instructor. Mike Porter will be with us as a junior instructor and he will help to keep the instructor boats fueled and at the ready.

We had previously communicated to all that we wanted to get the registration materials out to you in April of this year. The effort to come into compliance with the camp regulations has caused a slight delay in getting you the registration materials - the camp regulations even impact the registration forms and promotional materials. We will get these materials out to you in the very near future.

In the meantime - you can gather some information that you will need to complete the registration process more quickly when you do get the materials - I think every parent/guardian is familiar with the "health forms" you get from your child's pediatrician.  This form is given to schools each year and to most organized sports programs. One of the health department requirements for "camps" is that we have on record the information generally found on these health forms - included is the date of last doctor’s visit, immunization status and brief medical history/activity restrictions. This is NOT the full medical record of your child. This form/information is REQUIRED of every participant in the program this year - so contact your pediatrician now and get the form for each of your kids that is participating this year.

Also - we are required to confirm that all participants meet the 8 years old by July 1st minimum age requirement. To do so, we ask that all first-year participants have a Birth Certificate for registration. We will look at the certificate to confirm the date of birth and will return the Certificate. We will not keep the Certificate.

Program registration will take place on Saturday, June 7th from 12:00pm – 2:00pm at the yacht club. If for some reason you cannot make the registration time please contact Marybeth Porter @ mporter@pipefitters537trust.net to make arrangements. The full fee for the program is due at the time of registration. No exceptions. I am not going to spend my time chasing parents who owe the program money. It is not fair to me or to the other parents who have paid in full as required. Although this program is likely the cheapest 8-week program you will ever find - we are trying to keep the cost in line with last year's rates. However, be advised that there may be a slight increase (up to about $50) over last year's rates to cover the cost of additional equipment, materials and payroll. Final word on the fee will go out with the registration materials.

Mike Norris has agreed to be our communication liaison. This will help to get program information out in a timelier manner and give each parent a point-person to communicate with.

We will require valid email addresses for each family and each parent will be required to give a valid cell phone number for emergency contact purposes. Think about it - you are at the office - your kids are lucky enough to be out sailing - a storm approaches and you see the skies darkening. Wouldn't it be great to get a text message telling you that your child(ren) are safe and sound in the building and are not still out on the bay?

The program instructors' boats are in good working order and we are committed to keeping them that way. Paul Astrella will coordinate this effort. Additional safety equipment and instructional materials are being acquired.

At the various parents' meetings held in the fall and over the winter, it was agreed to implement a policy with regard to participants' boats. This policy going forward is as follows:

First year participants would strongly be encourage to provide their own boat but would not be required to have a boat. However, all second year and beyond participants will be required to have their own boat. This policy is needed so that all participants get the most sailing instruction possible. The thought is that it is unfair that someone can join the program repeatedly without a boat, which then requires that a child who has a boat must either take the non-boat owning participant with him/her or give up their boat entirely to the non-boat owner. Either way, the child who has the boat is losing out on sailing time and experience.

If you need a boat or know someone who might - get checking Craig's List and other listings now, before the start of the season and every parent is looking for an Optimist. The boats need not be pretty - they do take a beating.

During those same meetings, another policy was agreed to. It was decided to require that a parent/guardian volunteer one day per participating child to be at the clubhouse during program hours. The purpose is not to have the parent/guardian 'police' the club or the participants. The purpose is to have an adult in the club/on the deck at all times during the program as an added measure of safety. Many times both the steward(bartender) and launch driver must leave the clubhouse at the same time. Our goal is to simply have an adult presence. For example- if all instructors and participants are on the docks and one kid forgot something in the clubhouse or needs to go to the bathroom, he or she would have to return to the clubhouse alone - it would be good to have an adult in the club or on the deck. What better way to spend summer's day than at the club! You will smile all day watching the great fun the kids will be having. Kelly Norris and Trish Loney will be coordinating this - so contact Kelly to reserve your day(s) as soon as you can - knorris@partners.org

It was also agreed that we should convey to the parents and guardians that although our program is a sailing program, the expectation should not be that the kids will be in the boats all day every day. To do so would make for very long days and very burned-out kids. The program is about learning to sail - but it is also about teamwork, social development, recreation and fun.

The program calendar is as follows:

Swimming tests for new and returning participants will be administered Friday June 27th. There is a noon-time high tide. Participants should be at the club by 10am in bathing suit, with towel and ready to get wet. Pizza will be provided for lunch as a "welcome" to the kids following the test. Pick up time on June 27th is by 2pm.

The program will run from Monday June 30th to Thursday August 21st. Programs days are Monday through Thursday. Program time is 9am to noon and 1pm to 4 pm. Noon to 1pm is the lunch break. Please be courteous and respectful to our instructors and pick up your children on time at the end of the day.

The program will not meet on Thursday July 3rd.

Participants will be required to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD at all times during program hours and must have a whistle (one capable of working when wet) when in the boats. They should of course be slathered in sunblock before arriving at the clubhouse and should have a hat. Sunglasses are a good idea as well.

Cell phones will not be allowed to be used by the participants during program time.

We are planning to coordinate with the race committee to have the kid’s race a night or two every other week. There will be pot luck supper before it or perhaps the program will put on a dinner or two as a fundraiser. Marybeth Porter will be coordinating this effort. This is a great chance to see everyone and to let the kids show off their sailing skills! Other social programs for the kids are in the works - including a kids' dance the weekend of the Lipton Cup Regatta.

We also plan (through Chris Harrington) to encourage the kids to do at least two regattas this season. Chris will coordinate towing etc. As one of the two regattas, we hope that all of our participants race in the Lipton Cup Regatta hosted by Squantum Yacht Club. Home waters advantage!

We do have a local business who has agreed to supply all of the kids - and the instructors - with Squantum Sailing shirts. A perfect way to show off the Squantum Pride at other clubs.

Please have all your kids' boats at the club in good working order before Monday June 30th. Check the boats out early to make sure all repairs and replacements are done by June 30th and that there are no missing parts or equipment. The boats do get a workout in the program so do not assume the boats are in good shape after last season. 

Also - if something on the boat seems "good enough" then it isn't. Sailing in even a moderate wind puts a great deal of stress on the boats and rigs. There is no need to frighten a child because something needlessly snaps or lets loose. The boats should be in tip-top shape to help ensure the safety of your children and to avoid "down-time" if the boat breaks later during the program.

If you need a new sail or replacement equipment for your boat - let me know - we have a line on these things at more competitive prices than most suppliers.

Is there a nurse, nurse practitioner, doctor, or the like among our parents?? If you are one - please email me back - I need some help with regard to the camp registration process. Thanks!

Working together - we should have a great program and a great season - now where is the warm weather??

Thanks to All 
Paul Hines

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