Over 200 TYC members and guests gathered on the south lawn of the club last night to share the joy of the 95 youngsters who received awards for their participation in the Sail Training program. Proud parents and grandparents sat on rows of white folding chairs and clapped loudly as their offspring received certificates and trophies from their instructors.
Chaired by Mike Mills and under the leadership of instructor Meredith Collins, the TYC Sailing Program is one of the best programs in Narragansett Bay. The program focuses on the enjoyment of sailing and the self confidence that is instilled in the participants as they learn the basic lessons of sailing. The program is based on USSAILING curriculum with instruction carried out in age and skill-appropriate groups of young sailors.
The enthusiasm of these young sailors was reflected in the bright smiles on their faces. I could sense their feeling of accomplishment as they walked up to receive their certificates. The awardees ranged in age from 5 to 18.
And it was also reflected in the classy dresses that the young girls wore. Bright pastel colored dresses, a few with a nautical theme like the young girl with the blue dress with light golden starfishes on it, could be seen in nearly every one of the ten rows of chairs on the lawn. No tank tops for the boys tonight. It was polo shirt night for most with a few who chose an Oxford shirt like the boy in front of me with his orange and white plaid short sleeved shirt. I have the long sleeved shirt just like that!
Meredith and Mike ran a good presentation of awards. Several different categories of sailing, including the Tiller Tamer (as young as 5 years old!), the Opti's and the 420's, were recognized and certificates were given for their participation. The special awards were given last. These include three prestigious awards, The John Fonseca Memorial, The Bob Berglund Memorial and the Commodore's Award which was presented by Commodore Phyllis Ibbotson.
Ann Berglund Lanz gave a moving tribute to her late husband, Bob Berglund, stressing his love of racing and his desire to help young persons who are in the sail training program.
Prior to the ceremony a barbeque was prepared for all guests. Three gas grills cooked the traditional summer fare while a charcoal grill prepared the succulent pieces of chicken basted with a special sauce by Bruce Epke. He personally gave me a doggie bag for tomorrow's dinner. I can’t wait!
45 minutes after the 6:30 pm starting time the awards ceremony was over. Meredith thanked her competent staff and Mike thanked all the volunteers who joined together this summer to make such an outstanding program for these youngsters.
It was well after dark before many of the guests left the club tonight. Most wanted to reminisce about the summer activities on the water, the regattas on the bay and the good feelings of friendship which was developed by those who participated in the program.
Although the sail training program has ended activities at the club continue. Swim lessons are still being given in the morning. There are three more exciting Thursday Night Pot Luck Socials, a teenage Dance on the 25th, a college sendoff party next Tuesday and the traditional Labor Day Activities on Labor Day.
Congratulations to Mike Mills and Meredith Collins for a successful program this summer and best wishes for another good season in 2018.