THE OLDEST MEN’S CLOTHIER IN THE UNITED STATES, founded in 1818 as a family business, has, as of 2015, 210 stores in the United States and 70 in 20 other countries. It is headquartered on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York City.
Every year Brooks Brothers invites all its stores in the US to apply for a grant for a non-for-profit of their choice. The grant applications are reviewed by a committee at its headquarters in Manhattan and four are selected as finalists. Once selected, all Brooks Brothers’ employees across the country are allowed to vote for a winner.
The Brooks Brothers store in the Vero Beach Outlets took the opportunity this year to apply for a grant to benefit the Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County (YSF).
On Tuesday, July 21, the Brooks Brothers Vero Beach outlet store was advised that its application on behalf of the YSF was one of four finalists; and as a finalist YSF is GUARANTEED a grant of $ 3,000. If YSF is selected as the winner it will receive a $ 5,000 grant.
The purpose of the grant request was to enable YSF to provide scholarships for eight Vero Beach High School students to join the High School Sailing team for one school year. It costs YSF at least $600 per student per year to provide instruction, boats, coaching boats, repairs, insurance, licenses, etc.
Since its establishment only one year ago, the sailng team has grown to 25 members and now instead of meeting and sailing once a week its now twice a week. Two Regattas were entered and eight Varsity letters were given out at the end of the year.
Graduation Night for the Vero Beach High School Sailing Team
In its grant application, the Vero Outlet store laid out five objectives of the High School Sailing Team and how it will enrich the lives of six additional students.
One: Sailing is a complex sport, demanding self-discipline and alertness, some of the qualities that few schools or activities teach today. It develops a keen understanding of mechanics, hydrodynamics, and aerodynamics. It requires attention, focus and teamwork uncommon to other sports. It develops an appreciation of the lifelong sport of sailing (some volunteers and active sailors are in their 80s), watersports, the marine ecosystem and marine life. It involves intense, non-electronic, exercise and physical conditioning.
Moreover, it builds self-confidence. It is one thing to ride a bike, but yet quite another at the age of nine to pilot your own craft.
It builds character, responsibility, respect for the environment, perseverance, trustworthiness, self-esteem and enhances fitness.
According to Scuttlebutt Sailing News (06/05/2013), children learning to sail develop four key qualities. They develop 1) Spatial awareness, an understanding of his/her location and the location of objects in relation to his/her body; 2) a sense of direction, such a calculating distance and identifying landmarks; 3) weather knowledge; and 4) shipshape habits, including rigging, putting things away and keeping them tidy.
According to George Horak, Commodore of the Miami Sailing Club, who offers summer sailing for children, “At this point if we have a problem in our Society, it’s because the role models are questionable. At the Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County our primary objective is to provide your children with superior role models, reflected in our instructors, volunteers and Board Members. We want to develop your children into leaders.
Two: The C-420 * competition program is a natural extension from the small, single person Opti** sailboats as the students become High School age and outgrow the smaller boats.
Three: To provide teens with another sport option, those who physically or financially cannot play football, basketball, baseball or other team sports…but may be able to sail.
Four: To develop a growing, non-motorized, sailing community on the Lagoon environment in which we all live.
Five: To educate teens on the necessity of keeping a healthy lagoon.
Now, even with it’s $ 3,000 grant, imagine seeing the YSF logo on the Brooks Brothers Facebook page, the Brooks Brothers logo on the YSF Facebook page, a Brooks Brothers banner on the YSF float in the High School Homecoming Parade and at all regattas!
In closing, and this is important, though Brooks Brothers is one of the most prestigious clothiers and has outfitted almost every president since Abraham Lincoln, Brooks Brothers is not what YSF is all about. According to Jack Gierhart, executive Director of U. S. Sailing, the governing body for the sport, “Sailing has had the reputation of being an expensive, elitist sport, but it really isn’t. Community sailing programs have been around for quite a while, but they’ve become more relevant and active in sailing recently, even in this economy.”
This is the way of YSF. YSF welcomes children from all walks of life through its free sailing lessons for children, ages 9-13, in the “Opti” class and ages 13-19 in the “C-420” class . Adult classes help to fund the childrens’ classes. With the exception of one paid Executive Assistant it is an all volunteer organization of nearly 70 volunteers who donate freely of their time and personal funds to allow your children to sail. It provides a substantial service to our community and your family. It is growing at a rapid pace to serve even more community members and cannot be sustained without your support as well.
We’re not done yet!
While the Brooks Brothers grant is great news for YSF, the High School Sailing Team had a problem. YSF only had eight C-420 Class Dinghies for what grew last year to 25 members. With two crew members per dinghy, that left eight students on the sidelines watching the others, but taking turns.
YSF Board Chairman out on Indian River Boulevard Guiding in the Tractor-Trailer with Six C-420s
To meet this growing demand, YSF bought, for a nominal sum, six C-420s from a boy’s private school in Connecticut where when the boats get old they have the funds to replace them rather than repair them. (But they are in better shape than the eight YSF already had.)
The six new C-420’s
We’re still not done.
This morning, July 23, another six boats arrived from a girl’s private school across the street from the boy’s private school. The girls must have said if the boy’s can have new boats why can’t we. Once again they were purchased for a nominal sum.
Another six C-420’s arriving this morning
C-420s being unloaded
Now, with 20 C-420s, YSF cannot only accommodate the Vero Beach High School students, but also reach out to include the Indian River County Charter School and the Sebastian High School. These plans are underway.
** The Optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15.