The blog was a bit slower than usual last week because I had the humble honor of sailing all week with the Warrior Sailing Program in support of the VA’s Summer Sports Clinics. I’d love to say I coached all week, but in all honesty,,,the quality of the four senior coaches at this clinic was staggering,,,,and I was only too happy to learn from them and soak up the knowledge. Every day was a learning experience.
Saturday I went back to my first marina and spent several hours getting reaquainted with the Catalina 22, which I’d be sailing in addition to the 16.5 Capri. This was a great day, because the whole family got out on the water in this much smaller sailboat than Tulum IV, relearning the basics and getting the kids and us experience on a different sailboat. Monday – Friday, I sailed with veteran participants, coaches and staff from Warrior Sailing and the VA Summer Sports Clinics. This was humbling. I’ll work through several stories this week to share some of my experiences, which can’t be replicated anywhere else because of the caliber of both the participants and Warrior Sailing staff. During the week, I was able to eat lunch with a future Olympic skier, sail with a veteran who has earned his Basic Keelboat Certification while totally blind, meet the first amputee the Army allowed to deploy to combat in Iraq and watch the outstanding senior sailing coaches mentor veterans with every sort of injury into having a great time on a small sailboat,,,,while actually learning how to sail for themselves. None of us gave “boat rides”, all of us involved the participants as much as possible and you could see it in their faces as they came off the boats.
So,,,,while the blog was slow last week, I was off doing what I write about,,,,living free and sailing fast (as possible on the small boats while keeping mostly upright)! I took vacation days to help out and got to sail all week. While the only material possession I took away from the clinic was a hat, I came away rich in humble pie and experience from watching our veterans sail and getting to sail with the four senior coaches, who are some of the best sailors I’ve ever met.
If YOU are on active duty or a veteran and are interested in attending one of Warrior Sailing’s 3-day camps; check out their website and put in an application. The camps are completely paid for, but they ask that you fund the initial cost of your airline ticket, then you’ll be paid back. If you’re an experienced sailor and want to volunteer to coach, put in an application on the website and they’ll see where there’s a spot.
I learned a lot from this camp that I’ll work into several blog posts, but the biggest thing is the feeling of giving back to the veteran community and asking nothing in return. I’m good with that (but a shirt wouldn’t have been too bad either)!
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