2015 marked the second season for the Youth Boating Program, offered by the YMCA of Beaufort County. This one-week program teaches rising 7th-10th grade students the skills required to become safe, successful mariners and is the only community-based non-profit boating organization in Beaufort County.

This past summer, the program expanded from 3 sessions to 5 and over 80 youth graduated from the program in August.  Paul Spencer, YMCA Boating Director states,  “During the camp students are taught the Spirit of America Boating Education and Safety Program curriculum and learn through classroom and hands-on instruction from expert volunteers  on the water in the areas of power boating, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle board, canoeing and personal water craft. They also take the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources exam, earning their boating license at week’s end, as well as learning skills that will last a lifetime.”

Paul & Kids on boat


The program also focuses on STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, math) practices, safe boating environment awareness, leadership development and physical fitness. The non-traditional classroom setting of our beautiful local waters provides both encouragement and inspiration, helping to reverse the decline of outdoor recreation among our youth- fostering a lifetime love of the outdoors and appreciation of our Lowcountry wildlife, ecology and natural surroundings.

Travis & Lucas sail


Spencer says,  “Students also learn life skills like teamwork and good decision-making, acquiring a strong sense of accomplishment and confidence, not only in the boat and on the water, but within themselves as well. “ The program has received rave reviews from the students and parents alike, with comments such as “Wow!  I’m so impressed with you, the volunteers and this program. Grace really enjoyed herself and learned so much last week.  THANK YOU!” and “This program was incredible.  My son learned so much and had an awesome time.  I really appreciate all of the effort that goes into making this camp so successful “.

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The YMCA Youth Boating Program would not be possible without the support of Community Builders such as the Friends of Callawassie Island and the time, expertise, and patience of many volunteers including Callawassie’s own Terry Vitch. The YMCA thanks you!

If you would like more information about the Y Youth Boating Program please contact the YMCA Boating Director, Paul Spencer at 843.522.9622 or boatingymca@gmail.com.