Nonprofit teaches sailing lessons, self-confidence on Long Island Sound in Bridgeport
A local nonprofit is bringing sailing on the Sound, with a side of self-confidence.
If you’ve been to Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport, you’ve likely seen Sailaway Sailing School on the boardwalk.
It’s where kids like Miles Ambler have learned to sail for nearly two decades.
"Learned the basics of sailing and stuff. I got to go out into the water and steer the boat a bit and learn how to control the sails to catch the wind,” says Miles.
The sailing school is under new leadership. When the longtime director retired a few seasons ago, the Connecticut Yankee Council, a local Scout chapter, took it over. Now Paul Lukas is at the helm.
"I actually gave up a higher paying job to change my life and change my career and just do something more connected with the community and nurturing the next generation,” says Lukas.
There are four sessions throughout the summer, which kids 10-14 years old can take part in. They don’t have to be a Scout, and those in need of financial help can apply for scholarships.
"As a nonprofit, it changes the focus. The focus is on youth development, giving them the chance to learn and to experience Long Island Sound,” says Lukas.
Counselors say it’s a close-knit group, which many of them being former students.
"When I see them doing it, I feel happy because that means I succeeded at my job,” says counselor Alvin Rosario.
They say it’s not just about skills on the water, either.
"Learning teamwork, learning leadership, building self-confidence,” says Lukas. “Giving them the chance to develop life skills that can change their lives."
Registration for next season opens in February.
A fundraiser to benefit the sailing school is set for Sept. 22 at Captain’s Cove. Details can be found HERE.