Fund-raiser for boathouse activities

Courageous Sailing Center will host its second annual Jamaica Pond fund-raiser at the boathouse on Oct. 25.

Perched on the edge of the water on what has been called “the jewel of the Emerald Necklace,” the Jamaica Pond boathouse has become a site much loved by those in the area. Fleets of rowboats, kayaks and sailboats are rented to the public from there at reasonable rates, with all proceeds benefiting the city’s Fund for Parks and Recreation. Although the rental program has existed for decades, Courageous Sailing Center has been performing this service for the past five years.

The boathouse is open to the public from April 1 until Nov. 11, seven days a week (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and boathouse programming is made possible by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and supported through various levels of both corporate and individual sponsorships and donations.

Courageous offers not only boats to the public, but also programming and opportunities for the youths of the area, free of charge. Every summer for seven or eight weeks, approximately 30 local youths, ranging from 8 to 16 years of age, set upon the pond to learn the skills necessary to sail, as well as a respect for their natural environment.

Enrollment in Courageous’ sailing programs is competitive, as every year thousands of families apply for a limited number of spots. Preference is given to those returning students progressing throuProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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the steps of the program and to residents of Boston.

Site Director Annie Butts and her staff of five instructors, including JP resident Sandy Forbes and senior instructor Robert Cannon take a new group of children every Monday and have them steering a straight course by Friday. Some improve enough to be able to take boats out on their own after the program ends.

Tony Hayward, 13, a participant from Roxbury, said he particularly enjoyed the day trip taken to Boston Harbor and sailing trip to Spectacle Island, offering a perspective of the city not many children, let alone adults, are exposed to.

Forbes said, “I think the best reward for me was seeing the Geffkin kids [Elizabeth,15; Ben, 12; and Naomi, 10] come down to the boathouse last Saturday and take a boat out together. With all the things kids are into these days, all these kids wanted to do was sail on the pond.”

The work is not over for the Jamaica Pond program and staff when the summer ends, as they continue to host after-school sailing programs for JP’s Manning and Agassiz schools and the Codman Academy in Dorchester.

On Oct. 25, from noon to 4 p.m., families can enjoy an Open House for a $10 contribution, allowing them to sail, kayak, row or enjoy the hot beverages and waterfront vista. From 4 to 6 p.m., a Community Leadership Reception at $50 a person will strive to raise the much-needed funds to keep the boathouse and various programs running.

Staffing and maintenance of the boathouse and pond activities remain an expense largely supported by the Boston parks department. With a dwindling budget, the city is now looking to event attendees and pond supporters more than ever to help augment the boathouse budget for years to come. The City of Boston, along with the Courageous Sailing Center, is looking to the public to keep these opportunities alive. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call 268-7243.

Submitted by the Courageous Sailing Center at Jamaica Pond.

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