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"Green Bay Sail & Paddle operated like a well-oiled machine."
Parent of Participant - Boy Scout Small Boat Sailing Merit Badge
"We had a bunch of fun today! We learned how to recover from capsizing, how to pick up a man on board if they fell off. You got to know your partner, and it was fun talking!"
Brooke J. - participant Basic Sailing 1
"We came out here sailing today, not really knowing what to expect. I think the kids loved it. It really had a lot of teamwork. I saw a lot of kids switching from side to side, helping each other, getting the mast down, steering.  There was a lot of friendly competitions. A few were nervous when we first got out here, and at the end they were just laughing and splashing, having a great time.  In the end, I think it's great for team building, self-esteem, some of my shyest kids were some of my best sailors."
Amy O. - Southwest H.S. Phy. Ed. Teacher
"We found out about this fun sailing opportunity via the website.  There was a ton of fun out there.  We even had a race. The best part was me and my group had the big sail, and we almost tipped. It was a lot of fun to get out there and try something new on the water!"
Colin - Southwest H.S. Phy. Ed. student
"I participated as a caregiver for an into to sailing program with my 12 year old niece who has autism.  She goes to events with the autistic community and typically does not engage in activities.  When we came to Green Bay Sail & Paddle, she went straight to the water and she loved sailing.  I saw behaviors in her that I did not think she had the ability to have.  I do not know what it is about sailing, but for my niece this program was a breakthrough."
"Just a brief note to express how much I enjoyed the sailing lesson last Monday. Sam was an excellent instructor and guide. He explained the fundamentals and answered all of my questions. It was a thrill to go out on the water and immediately experience the lessons firsthand.  I look forward to more participation so I can build on what I learned. "
Rolf Z. - Private Lesson Student
"I am here in Rwanda attending the 2019 Women's Leaders in Global Health Conference! The break out sessions and keynote speakers all have a  focus on empowerment and resiliency, not just for women and girls but for all refugees and those who have been forcibly displaced.  I have used Green Bay Sail and Paddle as an example of promoting both often because of the  opportunities you gave to COMSA and the United ReSisters over the last summer. 

I will say that the idea I had to combine two of my favorite things in life did not go over as smoothly as I had originally hoped. Sailing with GBSP and Somali friends are two things my family thoroughly enjoys and it only seemed like a natural choice to bring the two together. Because I was teaching in the COMSA summer school program I applied for scholarships so that all of the classes could have the opportunity to have a sailing experience. Green Bay Sail and Paddle did not hesitate and awarded us three full sessions, one for each of the age groups. 

The tricky part was getting the buy in from the Somali Families. Please do not minimize the importance of making sure a parent understands what you want to offer their child! Could you imagine going to a foreign land and having a group tell you they want to take your child on a grand adventure and it was in a language you did not understand and something you yourself had never done?!?!? These parents were brave and strong to question our motives!  But we needed their signatures of consent. After much interpreting and translating even then we had parents who did not want their children to be exposed to what in their minds could be a dangerous situation. As a school social worker who has done work with this community I could empathize with why they made that decision! They had already survived so much, they have already had to set so many boundaries to keep their children safe from harm. This may have been too much to ask of them, but I had a feeling that it would work and GBSP believed in it too. They knew that sailing could be healing because many in our own community find it therapeutic! 

We finally had 20 kids whose families gave us permission to try it. None of them had ever been on a boat. None of them could conceptualize that they were going to get to sail on a boat themselves. When we pulled up most of the kids thought we were going to stand in a circle and learn about sail boats. Once life jackets were fitted their smiles got wider and they inched closer and closer to the boats. The instructors were captivating and knowledgeable and wonderfully responsible in regard to cultural sensitivity, language, expression, and timing. They waited until all the kids were ready and then helped them on the boats. I have never seen the kids be happier. It was two hours of pure joy. The dimples, the missing teeth smiles, the shrieks of laughter, and shouts of joy were all that could be seen or heard. 

Then they never stopped talking about it. For the next couple of weeks the conversation between the parents, students and COMSA revolved around sailing. Some families did not know that this was a fresh water lake. Somalia has a long coast line of ocean so this was a very interesting subject to many of their parents. They have a keen interest in fishing! They wanted to learn a lot more about the great lakes. Some parents listened captively and then translated for the other parents to explain where Green Bay was on lake Michigan. One student began drawing and painting and writing about the lake he just sailed and the seas of his childhood. More parents began asking if their child could sail as well. 

By the time our next sailing session came we had almost 30 new Somali students wanting to sail and parents came to watch the lesson. By the end of the next sailing session, a father who had previously had his doubts about his kids attending this outing had fully changed his mind and was engaged in full on conversations with the instructors about how he could charter a fishing boat for his family. 

This is a new life here in Green Bay for many Somali Families. Those three experiences with your non profit gave them the courage to try something new. It empowered the parents to be able to make trusting, informed decisions about how their children spend time in a new culture and in a new community. It empowered the kids to learn a skill that was in nature, breathing fresh air, encouraging them to learn new things, and feel good about it. 

Thank you for letting them do this surrounded by their friends and family. Thank you for working with us to ensure that it was such a positive experience. Thank you for modeling what mentorship and support look like from Green Bay to a new population of families who are learning how to create a new normal for themselves. This is what promotes resilience! Exposure and access to sport, play, and healthy environments can all be the protective factors for these kids and their families so thank you for these opportunities and I hope our COMSA/ Sailing adventure continues on next summer.  "
Katie S. - COMSA Representative S. - COMSA Representative
"Just wanted to reach out and say thank you once again. The girls learned so much! Your staff are so knowledgeable and kind. It was a very enjoyable experience for our girls; and of course it was fun to see all the kiddos race.  Our friends & us are already talking about planning a couples night sailing over there!"
Nettie - STEM Camp
"Losing my fear of sailing! During a casual conversation in early July/2020, a very nice co-worker (a gifted sailor himself, Mr. Mike Dorvinen) suggested me to contact GBSP if I wanted to learn the basics about sailing. I did, and the experience has been superb ever since! Peggy Collinsmith was just wonderful from day one with e-mail support, phone call follow ups; she was even more delightful in person. She made all first steps and transactions very easy. I ended up taking the intro class on 7/29 ($40), Basic Sailing 1 (9 hours/3 days/$165) on 8/4-6, and Basic Sailing 2 (9 hours/3 days/$165) on 8/18-20, plus 5 private lessons (2 hours each/$100 each lesson) on 8/10, 19, 20, 25 & 27. Maxwell Hermans (Lead Sailing Instructor) as well as a group of wonderful sailing instructors (Behrgen Smith, Murray Frolich, Mimi Stockman, and Charlie Dickey) have made my experience beyond enjoyable. They were at all times patient, professionals, humble, social, encouraging, aware, and talented, teaching us at our own pace, always with safety in mind at all times (from COVID-19 enforced guidelines to water safety). Heck, I even bought some of their apparel (Mimi is a great salesperson!). I want to thank all of them, and Becky Paul (GBSP president) for planting in me the love for sailing at 53 years-old! Add to that a wonderful supper with my wife on 8/22 at Louie’s Lagoon by Skaliwags (best hamburgers ever!) on South Bay Marina. Better yet, I got to capsized a catamaran with my wife, Susan Arias (Tubbs), on it during my 2nd private lesson; that was priceless! ????I highly recommend these lessons and this committed organization to anyone wondering what it would be like to learn how to sail! Thank you GBSP; what a great way to re-energize downtown GB! It was money very well invested. I consider myself lucky to have rediscovered and enjoyed my adopted hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin, this summer!I have a very long way to go yet when it comes to sailing, but I am already looking forward to experience even more sailing lessons and journeys in the summer of 2021, and beyond! I wish you all the very best. Stay well!Franklin Arias 8/27/2020."
Franklin A.
"Our son had the best time at stem sailing camp. It was his first camp experience of any kind and Green Bay Sail {and Paddle} set the bar high!  We weren’t sure what to expect since no one in our family has any sailing knowledge, but everyone was so welcoming and did a fantastic job making it all interesting and not at all intimidating.  Our son couldn’t stop talking about what he learned and really impressed everyone with how much he learned in a short amount of time.  He is itching to get back and learn more which shows how much fun he had.  Because of his experience our whole family has become interested in sailing so thank you Green Bay Sail {and Paddle} for opening up this new world to us!"
Jilane - STEM Camp
"All the STEM exercises were very informative and I learned a lot especially the different boat hulls. I also liked building the recycled boats and racing them so please bring that back next time! You also did a good job with the math exercises and {they} were not too easy and not too difficult. As for sailing I felt much more confident on a boat at the end of the week than I did at the beginning!  "
Dominic - STEM Camp Student

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