Brendan Sailing featured in the Enterprise
"Sailing camp offers children chance to learn in a new way"
Children learn at different levels and, educators now tout, can be motivated by different tactics.
Some might take to every word a teacher says, absorbing verbal information like a sponge, while others may need a more hands-on approach, and could require something more stimulating than a windowless classroom.
Enter the nonprofit Brendan Sailing Camp, now operating in its 34th year. The camp is geared toward children ages 11 to 18 with a wide range of learning differences, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, hearing problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The first of two week-long day camps in Annapolis is running this week, and those will be followed up by a camp at St. Mary’s College of Maryland that includes both daytime sessions and overnight sessions from July 18 to 27.
Children are taught how to sail in a non-competitive environment, and how to use sailing as a foundation for building life skills, self-confidence and social ability.
Charlie Arms had been named sailing director last year after helping to update curriculum for the program earlier in 2017. Last summer, she began to fully appreciate the challenges and the rewards that working with children offers.
“It had been a few years since I had been sailing with kids, on the beach,” Arms said. “It was really rewarding for me.”
The longtime sailor was named as executive director of the program at the end of last summer, and decided to also continue directing the camp herself this summer.
“The whole program is evolving,” Arms said, adding that she and a new board of directors would like to see it expand nationally, possibly offering programs on the West Coast as well as southern East Coast and elsewhere.
The founder and CEO of Brendan Sailing is Jim Muldoon, a former trustee of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Muldoon was inspired to start the program in 1985 after seeing his son, who is dyslexic, became a confident sailor and how those skills translated to other pursuits in the young boy’s life, according to a release from the program.
Parents start noticing immediate differences in their child’s behavior after a summer session. Lisa Whelan, a parent from the St. Mary’s overnight camp, said in the release, “My son gained a sense of confidence that extended to his day-to-day life. Before Brendan he was shy, but the boy we picked up from camp was more engaging, happy, and relaxed. I attribute this not just to learning how to sail, but also to the instructors he worked with and the new friends he made.”
More than 600 students have attended these camps and on the final day of both sessions, parents are invited to take a sail with their camper to show off the skills they have acquired.
Tuition assistance for the $650 camp is available through Brendan’s scholarship program.
Visit the camp’s website at www.brendansailing.com or call 202-638-2788 for more information.