2018, 2019, 2020
New York City, NY
For low-income students in New York City, interactions with their local waterways are limited or non-existent. Hudson River Community Sailing’s flagship program, Sail Academy, aims to get students out on the Hudson River and provides youth development, academic enrichment, and leadership education through sailing and boatbuilding. The curriculum is student-centered, discovery learning with math, science, and leadership taught through concrete, hands-on activities in small groups led by positive, responsible educators. By the end of 2020, 75 students will have completed the three-year program, with many more following their footsteps to success.
A core component of this program is to provide on-water STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education through sailing. Following years of success at its headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood, and with the support of 11th Hour Racing, the Sail Academy piloted a satellite campus in 2018 at the Inwood neighborhood (where 88% of students are considered low-income and 98% are of minority background). The Inwood Sail Academy pilot was such a success that the City Council provided funding to build a permanent floating classroom to reach more underserved students and provide access to experiential STEM education.
The program operates year-round and aims to keep students in the program year after year to provide much needed academic support as students make the difficult transition to high school and beyond. In particular, Sail Academy provides support and guidance for middle school students who are navigating the complicated process of applying to high schools throughout the city, helping students to find the best school that meets their interests and needs.
HRCS believes everyone can learn to sail, and that sailing provides a unique opportunity for growth and discovery. The organization uses sailing to fulfill its mission: developing leadership and academic success in underserved New York City youth and providing maritime education to the city at large. This work takes place at a vibrant community sailing center, where the organization offers professional instruction, membership, veterans courses, summer camp, group, and corporate events, and community regattas.