Vero Beach, FL
Youth Sailing Foundation (YSF) of Indian River County is located in Vero Beach, Florida and offers free sailing lessons and environmental education to boys and girls aged 9-18. Relying on dedicated volunteers, YSF sailing courses include an interdisciplinary approach that teaches sailing in combination with critical life skills, encouraging participants to reach beyond their comfort zones under the supervision of experienced and knowledgeable mentors. Local experts are brought in to give age-appropriate presentations, focusing on environmental issues facing the Indian River Lagoon, such as the consequences of nutrient pollution, the importance of mangroves, and emphasizing the critical need to be better stewards of our waterways.
Founded in 2009 by Charlie and Chris Pope, Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization offering free sailing instruction to the children of Indian River County. YSF believes sailing is an adventure for a lifetime. While learning to sail children learn life skills that will endure. Sailing challenges and builds confidence by taking children outdoors, out of their comfort zone, and into a world of wind and water. They learn to rig and pilot their own sailboat on the beautiful Indian River Lagoon in Vero Beach. YSF’s success is measured in the competence, discipline, responsibility and leadership skills that blossom in our students. All of this is available to adults who join their rapidly growing adult instruction in larger sailboats.
YSF is entirely funded through the generosity and support of local individuals, businesses, and foundations. They have grown from a handful of 8 foot Opti prams to a fleet of over sixty sailboats and ten chase and safety boats. They have specially configured pontoon boat that serves as a combination on-water classroom and parent viewing stand.
Header image photo credit: Youth Sailing Foundation