Brendan News Articles
June 28, 2017
Originally Published June 28, 2017 - Southern Maryland News -The Enterprise - By Enterprise Staff
Dillon Kelley of Leonardtown was recently honored for his volunteerism during the Brendan Sail Training Program for Youth with Learning Differences awards ceremony. Now in its 33rd season, the program culminates with the awards ceremony, which recognizes the accomplishments of the students and volunteers who participated in the 2016 season at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Since the program was conceived, more than 600 children have been introduced to the joys of sailing and, in the process, improved relationships with their peers and built self-esteem, confidence and maturity. Registration is still open for this summer’s Brendan sailing program at St. Mary’s College.
The camp is led by U.S. Sailing certified instructors who work with students discovering their learning style, covering parts of the boat, maneuvers, navigation and rules of the road. Using a hands on approach to learn sailing and seamanship, the emphasis is on confidence building as well as skill mastery. Campers also have time for games and no prior experience is required. This program is taught at the college with FJ sailboats.
Program founder James Muldoon, a former trustee at the college, helped honor the students and volunteers, as well as welcome the new Brendan president, Joanne Dorval.
“We are honored to have Joanne take on the role as president of Brendan Corporation,” Muldoon said. “Over the years, she has put so much hard work into the success of the Brendan Sail Training Program, and we could not have a better individual to steer Brendan’s course for the foreseeable future.”
Dorval holds a master of education in exercise science from the School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, and a bachelor of science in health education/physical education from the University of Rhode Island. In addition to her work with Brendan, Dorval serves as vice president of administration for METCOR Ltd., and its largest division, Learning Systems International in Washington, D.C.
Kelley, 24, received the Molly Mahoney award, which honors the volunteer who contributed most to the success of the St. Mary’s session. Mahoney, a trustee at St. Mary’s College, helped the Brendan Sail Training Program expand to St. Mary’s County. Mahoney presented the award, and said of Dillon, whose son participates in the Brendan program: “Dillon went nowhere without his pen and paper, keeping track of the Sailor of the Day, recording program highlights, noting items that needed improvement, and collecting all of the hilarious things said throughout the day. He helped keep the program running smoothly, while serving as a role model, and making time on the water and off the water fun for all.”
The Brendan program is designed for “kids who learn differently,” according to its founder. “Often these kids learn best by ‘doing’ rather than hearing, or watching, or reading about something,” Muldoon noted.
Muldoon years ago observed that sailing came naturally to many children with learning differences and envisioned a program where they would not only enjoy sailing, but learn how to handle themselves in emergencies, how to stay safe, how to help others, and how to work with a team.
This summer’s sailing program is underway. Two sessions are being held at the Annapolis Sailing School June 19 to 30 and July 3 to 14.
One session will be held at St. Mary’s College of Maryland July 19 to 28. A week-long day camp for 11-to-14-year-olds with lunch provided is $500, and a week-long overnight camp for 15-to-18-year-olds is $800. Lunch is provided for all sessions. The overnight camp includes all meals and dorm accommodations.
The camp does not turn away students based on financial backgrounds; scholarship information is available on the camp’s website.
“It has been a privilege working with Brendan for the last 20 years,” Dorval said. “To watch the participants learn and grow through sailing has been an amazing experience. We are looking forward to continuing the positive impact we’ve had locally while offering these opportunities to students with learning differences in other communities through our partnership with the Spirit of America program.”
Other sailing awards went to: Colin McKone, 17, of Arnold received the “NoGutsNoGlory,” the longest standing award for outstanding achievement at the Annapolis school; Peter Weber, 19, of Washington, D.C., received the Jerry and Kathryn Wood Award for outstanding achievement at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp; and William McKinney, 13, of Odenton received the Arthur Birney Award for outstanding achievement at the advanced level at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp.
Volunteer awards also were given this year. Tara McCarthy of Annapolis received the Daniel Gottlieb award for the parent volunteer contributing the most to the Brendan Sail Training Program and Pat Ewing of Sandy Spring received the Kurt Lowman Award, which recognizes a like-minded Donnybrook crew (Muldoon’s racing yacht) friend to and mentor of Brendan sailors.
“For 33 years, Brendan has been teaching sailing to youth with varying learning styles,” Muldoon said. “And, we are so proud of all they have achieved both on the water and in their daily lives.”
For more information about registering for this summer’s Brendan Sail Training Program, contact Debbie Ewing at 301-717-4816 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for the program are available at www.brendansailing.com.
June 22, 2017
Originally Published May 15, 2017 - Capital Gazette - By Melissa Driscoll Krol - Contact Reporter
Thirteen year-old William McKinney of Odenton received the Arthur Birney Award on May 9 for his leadership last summer at the Brendan Sail Training Program for Youth with Learning Disabilities.
Now in its 33rd season, the Brendan Program is for children who 'learn differently.' Founder James Muldoon noticed these children learn best by 'doing' rather than hearing, watching, or reading something. Sailing came naturally for many of them.
William was invited to join his cousin, Noah Snow, in the program last summer by family friend and camp counselor Joel Bays.
"I invited them for the experience and to mentor them," Bays said.
As William has no special needs, "I wanted him to come under my wing and be my sidekick."
William first learned to sail in a week-long course in Annapolis.
"We learned how to sail, tie knots, how to direct the boat, and how not to capsize," William said. "The hardest part was learning to steer the boat."
Pictures featured in the Odenton/Gambrills column.
The tiller, which directs the boats path, is behind a sailor and one must steer in opposite directions to make the boat change direction. "It was pretty challenging at first," he said.
Pulling in the 'jib' was the easiest part for William. A jib is a sail. "You pull it in to gain more speed," William said. "You go faster when the sail is tight."
William enjoyed sailing to City Dock for ice cream and exploring Snake Island with its abandoned houses.
After learning to sail in Annapolis, William spent nine days leading other children at an overnight camp at St. Mary's College. William won the award for helping children with extra needs complete tasks, always offering assistance and helping each child become a better sailor.
"He overcame fears, recognized fears in others, and helped others overcome theirs," Bays said. "He was a good friend when we needed someone to hang back with somebody and just be there for them."
William quickly learned teaching children with special needs can be difficult as many have short attention spans.
"It was so frustrating sometimes," he said. "I forced myself to have patience. I told myself they're just different."
William learned not to judge other people because they have different learning abilities. He said the experience taught him compassion.
"Coming into it, William learned we all have our own needs," Bays said. "As he helped the other students, they were helping him."
William made sure everyone stayed hydrated while out in the excessive heat.
William succeeded despite his glasses falling out of a boat.
"Both were slipping out of my hands and I had to choose between the boat and my glasses, William said. "I decided I couldn't pay for a boat but I could get more glasses. I went for the boat."
The independence and freedom of sailing made an impression on William.
"The best part was getting out on the water with everyone," he said. "Nobody's yapping in your ear and you're free to do what you want to do."
For more information on the Brendan Sail Training Program for Youth with Learning Differences, visit: www.brendansailing.org.