BG Challenge Cup / Photo by Brad Marshall
ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON, MARCH 20, 2016 BG POLO VERO BEACH HOSTED YOUTH SAILING FOUNDATION (YSF) FOR THE BG CHALLENGE CUP AT THE POLO GOUNDS AT POINTE WEST. SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE VERO BEACH HIGH SCHOOL SAILING TEAM AND ONE YOUNGER STUDENT PARADED THE GROUNDS AND WORKED THE CROWD TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE FREE SAILING LESSONS PROVIDED TO THE YOUTH OF INDIAN RIVER COUNTY.
BG Polo & Equestrian Vero Beach is a premier 36-acre equestrian compound located at 7700 8th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32968, just south of the Polo grounds at Pointe West. In addition to hosting YSF last Sunday, its BG Vero Beach Polo Club began hosting weekly professional level match games on Sunday, February 8, 2015.
There are five more matches scheduled on Sundays in 2016. Please visit http://www.verobeachpolo.com for schedules.
To dispel confusion, BG Polo is not Windsor, which only hosts one match every other year.
The YSF students were not only allowed to parade the grounds and work the crowds, but were also allowed to bring their C-420, a collegiate sail boat on to the middle of the field at half-time while tailgaters were served champaign.
Note: That’s a banner, not a sail or a jib.
Here is what Team Captain and Team founder Alden Findlay, pictured below, wrote about the entire experience:
“I never thought the sailing team I created would bring boats to a Polo match. All of the sailors had a great time with the Polo spectators. For many this was their first time watching Polo and they were fascinated. The Team’s enthusiasm was contagious to the spectators and many people talked to the Team. Some of them inquiring about what we do, while others were caught in the nostalgia of their own sailing experiences as a kid. During halftime, I wish you could have been there. People swarmed us and our unofficial mascots, Toby and Kita. Toby and Kita’s owner were so enthusiastic to help. This was amazing. I’m sorry that is all I can say about the Polo fundraiser. I can’t put the experience into more words.”
Alden Findlay on the far right, pictured with polo player Max Secunda
Max Secunda is also BG Polo’s head coach. He is a British Open Finalist, coached the East Coast team in the US Polo Association National Touring tournament series finals in San Diego, California and is poised to become one of the first USPA certified coaches in the nation. His father taught Prince Charles how to play polo.
One of the two unofficial mascots / the other was in the sail boat!
YSF began almost seven years ago with the purpose of introducing sailing to the youth of Indian River County.
The sport of sailing requires attention, focus and teamwork, uncommon to other sports. It teaches self-discipline and requires determination. 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.
Additionally, it provides teenagers with another sport option for those who physically or financially cannot play football, basketball, baseball or other team sports…but may be able to sail.
From it’s humble beginnings, every week there are now 87 students sailing on the Indian River Lagoon in YSF sail boats. The unique aspect of YSF’s program is that it is FREE, thanks to the generous support of people like you. YSF provides everything: the boats, the instructors, the equipment, the facility and the coaches.
YSF engages the whole diversity of our community, from the sailor from wealth and privilege, burdened by family expectations where sailing is the only time to be themselves, to a genius musician where sailing is to him, a recreation like for Einstein to provide tranquility to a great mind, to a sailor from a trailer park to which our program is the only light on a dark and troubling horizon, to a student with learning problems who’s mother said “my child was like everyone else’s!”
And that is what YSF is all about. It is about using the extraordinary experience of sailing to help our children confront challenging situations irrespective of his or her background.
YSF students poised to present awards to the winning polo teams
Team BG / first place winners
Here’s a close-up of the Optimist Pram used by younger children below the high school level, hand-made by Jeffrey M. “Cap” McGann and his grandson.
YSF extends a heartfelt “thank you” to BG Polo, and especially to its Equestrian Director, Patta Sloan Conboy, for a marvelous opportunity to increase public awareness and raise needed funds for its free sailing programs.
Patta Conboy, with Max Secunda, John Walsh and Bobby Genovese, as in BG
She said: “I love kids and dogs on a polo field in a sailboat!!!”
Please visit YSF at ww.ysfirc.org or call 772.925.2521