2018, 2019, 2020
Vero Beach, FL
The Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County (YSF) is located on the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America with more than 2,200 animal species and 2,100 plant species. However, erosion, which is caused by storms and boat wakes, along with pollution and runoff from increasing coastal development, has impacted the mangroves, which are vital to the estuaries health, making it an important restoration site.
YSF works to combine teaching low-income and underserved students how to sail while engaging them and community volunteers in restoring these vital coastal ecosystems. One day students will be learning how to tack and gybe, and the next day they will be in the water with local scientists installing living shorelines and learning about environmental issues facing the Indian River Lagoon. Topics that will be covered include the consequences of nutrient pollution, the importance of mangroves, and emphasizing the critical need to be better stewards of our waterways.
The Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County (YSF) is located in Vero Beach, Florida and offers free sailing lessons and environmental education to boys and girls aged 9-18. Founded in 2009 by Charlie and Chris Pope, YSF believes sailing is an adventure for a lifetime and when taught at a young age, kids learn life skills that will endure. Sailing also challenges the student and builds confidence getting them outdoors and out of their comfort zone, 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.
Header image photo credit: Youth Sailing Foundation