Sailing Magazine featured our program in their June 2019 Issue!
While there isn't a digital version of the article, see the scan of the article and text below:
Going to sleep-away camp is a rite of summer for many children, and for some young sailors, the experience is focused around sailing.
Since 1984, the Brendan Sailing Program has helped build the self-esteem of children with learning differences through a hands-on approach to sailing.
The organization was founded by Jim Muldoon, a former president of U.S. Sailing, who was inspired by his son Jimmy Muldoon Jr's struggles with dyslexia and learning.
"I don't even know how many times I tried to play catch with my dad and wound up getting bruises or a fat lip. It was just hard for me to find and catch the ball ," Muldoon Jr. said.
Muldoon, a competitive sailor, began teaching his son how to sail aboard his boat Donnybrook and he began to see his son blossom.
"One day I noticed that this young boy, who was having trouble telling his right hand from his left hand, now knew port from starboard and how to run the boat," Muldoon said.
Watching his son transform into a competent and confident sailor led Muldoon to recognize that learning to sail could be a valuable skill for other kids with learning differences, and the Brendan Sailing Program was born.
"I began to realize that here's something these kids can learn that doesn't require that split-second, baseball-foot-ball kind of timing and coordination, and could really benefit from 'learning by doing.'"
The summer camp is tailored to children ages 11 to 17 using the Brendan Approach, a customized and individually tailored curriculum developed to reach students with learning differences including dyslexia, auditory processing and attention deficit disorders. For Brendan Sailing's first few summers, Jimmy participated as a camper and he became a camp instructor when he was 19.
"I would look at the kids and see them doing the same things I did when I was confused," he said. "They would start fidgeting or get that blank look. And I knew I had to backtrack and break it down into smaller components."
In 2005, the Brendan Sailing Program began offering a 10-day resident sailing camp at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Students stay in the dorms, eat their meals in the dining hall and spend the days sailing on the St. Mary's river.
"Our resident camp offers the same sailing experiences that build self-esteem with the opportunity to enhance social skills by living together as a group for 10 days," said Charlie Arms, the program's executive director.
The cost of the overnight program is $900 per student, with scholarships and financial assistance available if needed. The Brendan Sailing Program also offers after-school programs in Washington D.C. in the spring and fall, and summer day camps in Annapolis and at St. Mary's College of Maryland.