Annapolis Patch: From the Brendan Sail Training Program for Youth with Learning Differences
Colin McKone, of Arnold, and William McKinney, of Odenton, were recently honored for their achievements 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. Program founder James Muldoon helped honor the students and volunteers.
McKone, 17, received the “NoGutsNoGlory,” the oldest award for outstanding achievement at the Annapolis school. This award is named after the sailboat " NoGutsNoGlory," owned by Jean and Howard Kluttz, and honors the couple, who have been part of the Brendan family for more than 30 years. Linda Kessler, a Brendan board member, presented the award on the Kluttz’s behalf, saying to McKone, “Colin, your confidence and composure helped keep the Brendan sailors on an even keel last summer. Thank you for being an outstanding sailor both on and off water.”
McKinney, 13, received the Arthur Birney Award for outstanding achievement at the advanced level at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp. This award is named after Arthur Birney, the owner of Port Annapolis where the program’s orientation and swim test is held. Arthur’s son, Lex Birney presented the award, saying, “William McKinney contributed to the success of Brendan last summer by supportively pushing each sailor to his or her limit. He stepped up as a leader to see that everyone completed each task at hand, offering assistance as needed, and helping everyone to become a better sailor day after day.”
Jim Muldoon also welcomed the new Brendan president, Joanne Dorval. “We are honored to have Joanne take on the role as president of Brendan Corporation,” said Muldoon. “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, Buffalo, New York (1987), and a Bachelor of Science in health education/physical education from the University of Rhode Island (1980). 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.
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. Many years ago, Muldoon observed that sailing came naturally to many youngsters 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.
Registration is still open for this summer’s sailing programs: Two sessions will be held at the Annapolis Sailing School June 19-30 and July 3-14, and one session will be held at St. Mary’s College of Maryland July 19-28. Both day camps are for 11-to-14-year-olds for $500, with St. Mary’s College offereing an overnight camp for 15-to-18-year-olds for $800. Lunch is provided for all sessions. To sign up, visit http://www.brendansailing.org/registration.
Because Brendan does not turn away students based on financial backgrounds, scholarships information is available at http://www.brendansailing.org/scholarships.
Since the program was conceived, more than 600 young people, ages 11 to 18, have been introduced to the joys of sailing, and, in the process, improved relationships with their peers and built self-esteem, confidence, and maturity. To further assist the students, the Brendan program also uses US Sailing-certified curriculum and instructors at the camps.
“It has been a privilege working with Brendan for the last 20 years,” said Dorval. “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.”
Another sailing star from the 2016 program inclued Peter Weber, 19, of Washington, D.C., who received the Jerry and Kathryn Wood Award for outstanding achievement at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp. This award is named after the former owners of the Annapolis Sailing School, which has housed the Brendan Program free of charge since its inception. Current owner Rick Nelson presented the award, and said of Weber: “Peter brings joy to every situation, whether it’s while sailing or enjoying time with friends… and makes a point to be sure everyone is satisfied. Peter, you have the heart of a sailor.”
Three volunteerism awards also were given this year.
Dillon Kelley, 24, of Leonardtown, received the Molly Mahoney award, which honors the volunteer(s) who contributed most to the success of the St. Mary’s session. Molly Mahoney 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.”
Tara McCarthy, of Annapolis, received the Daniel Gottlieb award for the parent volunteer contributing the most to the Brendan Sail Training Program. Debbie Ewing presented the award. “Whether it was in Annapolis or St. Mary’s, [Tara] was indispensable,” Ewing said. “According to Sailing Director Joel, she was a logistics windfall… she ran errands, brought supplies, and jumped through hoops to make sure the sailors had what they needed, even at the last minute.”
Pat Ewing, of Sandy Spring, received the Kurt Lowman Award, which recognizes a like-minded Donnybrook (Jim Muldoon’s racing yacht) friend to and mentor of Brendan sailors. Roberta Wilson and Nichol Lowman presented the award, saying Ewing, “has taught Brendan sailors a tremendous amount about what it means to be confident and brave. We thank Pat for selflessly donating countless hours to mentoring our Brendan sailors and teaching them what it means to be true sailors of character. “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.”