ROCKLAND — Rockland’s Sail, Power, and Steam Museum is the recipient of a $4,680 grant from the Maine Community Foundation in support of its free youth sailing program, SKFF (Sail Kids For Free). Funding for the grant was provided by the Foundation’s Knox County Fund and the Metcalfe Family Fund for Knox County at the recommendation of the Knox County Committee advisors.
Started in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic lock-down, the program offers safe, outdoor recreational and learning experiences for kids 6-14 years old.
“We quickly realized that we were on to something,” said museum founder, Jim Sharp, in a news release. “This program provides a way for kids who don’t have ready access to boating to have the opportunity to get out on the water. But it’s so much more than just sailing. Kids leadership, self-confidence, and how systems come together. Sailing is at the heart of this community’s heritage, and we are proud to be able to work with local youth in this way.”
The Foundation’s goals this year were to support programs that would build community resilience as people move away from a year of pandemic related economic and social stresses that have been so prevalent on a local, national, and global basis.
“Studies have clearly shown that learning to sail builds resilience and promotes personal growth, and what better way to impact our communities and our families than to provide this experience for the children,” said program director Diane Sternberg. “Our goal with the grant is to expand this program for 2021. Last year we started late in the season with 10 boats. This year we’ve doubled our fleet and will be starting as soon as school lets out.”
Sharp added, “We are grateful to the Maine Community Foundation. It is truly heartening to know that the review committee recognized the importance of reaching out to our local youth as a way to impact our community as a whole.”
For information on the Foundation: www.MaineCF.org.